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Thoreau and Transcendentalism The beauty in the strength of mere words and the immense impact they have on the soul of man has been the inspiration to many of the greatest poets and writers The ability to combine elegance with knowledge and thereupon affect the thoughts of others using only paper and pen has intrigued men for centuries Each generation produces those who vehemently speak out against injustices by their written words Henry David Thoreau proved to be the voice of his people and thus changed history by expressing the ideals he believed to be correct though the majority of the people did not always understand these ideals I should have told them at once that I was a transcendentalist That would have been the shortest way of telling them that they would not understand my explanations He believed in the oneness of individual souls with nature and with God which gave dignity and importance to human activity and made possible a belief in the power to effect social change in harmony with Gods purposes Thoreau tore the veil of conventional thought away from societies clouded eyes Born on a calm mid-summer night of 1817 to a family of neither wealth nor importance Thoreau became exposed to the reality of life at a relatively young age His father made pencils in a small shop while his mother took in boarders During the bleak winter of 1842 Henry lost his beloved brother John Thoreau Jr to a terrible case of lockjaw brought on by a slight but unattended wound His death profoundly affected Henry who then resolved to eulogize his brothers death in a book based on a vacation the two had taken on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers By July 1845 Henry left civilization to live in a cabin he had built on the shore of Walden Pond where he proceeded to write his tribute to his brothers life A Week on the
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