Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.


Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Anti-Transcendentalism"— Presentation transcript:

1 Anti-Transcendentalism

2 Reasons and Causes Opposed the optimism and naïve idealism of the transcendentalists Dwelt on guilt and remorse over past sins Discontented with current circumstances in America (poverty/unjust and cruel treatment of factory workers, poor educational system, lack of women’s rights, slavery…) so they focused on moral dilemmas and society’s ills

3 Key Ideas/Philosophy “Puritanically dark view of human nature and fate” People are basically evil and apathetic to matters that don’t effect them Nature is indifferent to mankind It is vast and incomprehensible, a reflection of the struggle between good and evil It is the creation and possession of God and it cannot be understood by human beings

4 Key Ideas/Philosophy cont…
Belief in the potential destructiveness of the human spirit Belief in individual truths, but no universal truths, and the truths of existence are deceitful and disturbing Evil is an active force in the universe Focus on the man’s uncertainty and limitations in the universe

5 Transcendentalists vs. Anti-Transcendentalists
Transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau) had an optimistic view of nature and human nature God found in nature, so nature = good Nature = truth Anti-Transcendentalists had pessimistic view of nature and human nature Nature = indifferent to mankind Human nature = hypocritical, apathetic

6 A House Divided Anti-transcendentalists Realists Experience
Spirituality based on Puritanism/Calvinism Nature is indifferent; Man is evil Man’s dark side Suspicious of science and technology Transcendentalists Idealists/Individualist Intuition Everything is a reflection of the divine soul Nature is good; even Man is good Man and Nature in partnership Embraces science as part of nature

7 Writing Style Man vs. Nature conflicts bring out the evil in humanity
Raw and morbid diction Focus on the protagonist’s inner struggles Typical protagonists are haunted outsiders who are alienated from society Prevalent use of symbolism

8 The Anti-Transcendentalists
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter People are hypocrites Shows pathos for those in society who suffer from being truthful (e.g., Hester Prynne) “Be true! Be true! Be true!” Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Billy Budd, Redburn

9 Nathaniel Hawthorne “As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety, even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest.” “The Maypole of Merrymount “(1836)

10 The Anti-Transcendentalists
“All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.” --Moby Dick

11 Herman Melville (1819 - 1891) Wrote many tales of sea adventures
Sailed as a whaler in South Seas Jumped ship at the Marquesas Islands and lived with cannibal tribe (also in Tahiti) Novels focused on sailors’ difficulty to act as an individual within their institution (symbolic of man in society and nature)

12 Herman Melville: Works
Moby Dick (1851) - Captain Ahab seeks revenge on a massive sperm whale that bit his leg off (man vs. nature) Pequod’s crew are subjected to Ahab’s monomaniacal quest for revenge (man vs. man) “Call me Ishmael” - narrator is only survivor of the story

13 Herman Melville: Works
Billy Budd, Sailor (1891) - A good sailor is executed by his commanders for another sailor’s crime Portrays the routine injustice of human existence Life is unfair and unforgiving

14 Herman Melville: Redburn (1849)
Adventures of young Wellingborough Redburn as a “ship’s boy” on an American merchant vessel Implores us to think of man’s evil nature Humans are indifferent to the suffering of other humans Questions purpose of life

Download ppt "Anti-Transcendentalism"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google