Transcendentalism vs. Anti-Transcendentalism

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Transcendentalism vs. Anti-Transcendentalism

Post  shawanne on Wed May 13, 2009 12:08 am

In The Scarlet Letter, the transcendentalist themes include the idea of nature being a freeing-ground that lets whoever inside it gain power and youth. This is parallel to Emerson’s ideal that ‘In the woods is perpetual youth…etc.’. His ideas of individuality over society also echo what Emerson had stated in Self-Reliance, that we should trust ourselves (Hester’s courage), and Hester’s relationship with Pearl also echoes an intrinsic study of interconnection with the things around us. However, Hawthorne’s ‘darker’ themes, particularly that of Dimmesdale and Chillingworth with their unhappy endings, are opposite of the unlimited potential beliefs of the Transcendentalists. If the unlimited potential theme was there in the story, the characters probably wouldn’t have suffered as much, and the strict and grave bearings of the Puritan society (society over self) also echoes a somewhat gloomier feeling than Emerson or Thoreau, and put forth more anti-transcendentalism than transcendentalism.

Before the climaxing of Moby-Dick, the air of the story was much more hopeful and Ahab did have hope that he would eventually track down and kill the whale; this hopeful attitude reflects the Transcendentalist view of unlimited potential and self-trust (Self-Reliance). He showed, at the beginning, an unparalleled individualism and courage. After the climax, though, when the prophecy is revealed, the storyline descends into a much less hopeful atmosphere, with Ahab starting to doubt himself and ultimately ending up getting killed and having the whale escape. This is exactly the reverse of what it felt like in the beginning of the story, revealing an Anti-Transcendentalist side hidden underneath the seemingly Transcendentalist story. Ahab’s doubt of himself shows that Melville, although having some Transcendentalist qualities, does not (or does not appear to, anyway) believe in unlimited potential of the being. His goal no longer becomes ‘rational’ as he is starting to go into ego-mind overdrive, succumbing to his thoughts of revenge; this is a thoroughly non-transcendentalist idea. Emerson and Thoreau’s views differed greatly from this as they both believed in the power of nature to heal and show us the way (Melville included aspects of nature in his story, too, but in a more rough and dark way—the whale, Ahab’s enemy, is a part of nature), plus their views on self-trust differed greatly if we’re looking at Ahab’s breakdown. So while all of these authors have somewhat crossed the same paths in some parts, they ultimately walk on different roads.

...to be edited somewhat. o.o;
avatar
shawanne

Posts : 66
Join date : 2009-05-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Transcendentalism vs. Anti-Transcendentalism

Post  Hannah Park on Wed May 13, 2009 12:52 am

I liked how you phrased "intrinisc study of interconnection"...it sounds so flowery, and important!
As for the actual post itself..
Yeah, nature does seem like the "freeing-ground" for Hester and Pearl...I don't think Hester did much trusting of herself untill the very end of the book; she mostly have into societal pressure to be "good." However, I wonder what would've happened if Hester didn't conform to societal values and instead continued to do things her way..it would be a whole different book! I wonder if there's an fanfiction like that; it would've probably been a much happier story if the Scarlet Letter was written by someone else, like Emeron or Thoreau...it probably would've had an happy ending and everything. But then, if all books were like that wouldn't people get sick of happy endings? Probably not... Disney's doing great after all those years of "corny" happily-ever afters; deep inside I bet many of us craves for some corniness in life. Even if it is...corny.
Um..that was quite off topic.
But Moby Dick was definitely not corny. Ahab wants to kill poor Moby, but Moby kills him (sort of). And the sad thing is that Ahab really did think he could kill Moby...until the end. I guess it shows how important to KEEP believing in oneself, because loosing hope might undo everything. That is kind of oversimplifying things a bit, but it's kind of true! Like if i studied 10 hours for my math test (not going to happpen anytime soon, trust me) and in the last moment I totally freak out and hyperviniliate and forget everything...all that effort was somewhat useless. In terms of grades, at least; if I actually study for a math test I'll be so proud of myself albino Ahab seems oddily preoccupied with revenge... why? Is he that vengeful in nature, or did he have some tragic past that made him not want to get one with his life. Sure he lost his leg, but he's still a captain of a whaling ship...maybe he used to be a captain in the Navy but he go kicked off because of his leg! (Probably not) But something must've set the chain of events going...what???
I'm done. yey
avatar
Hannah Park

Posts : 37
Join date : 2009-05-12

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Transcendentalism vs. Anti-Transcendentalism

Post  Angel on Wed May 13, 2009 9:07 pm

I agree with Hannah when she states the importance of believing in oneself, and of the strength and unity within oneself that will eventually be attained when one keeps on believing in and trusting the self. Is this the same as trusting one’s own instinct (and most native self), I wonder? Nature is, as Shawanne mentioned and as Hawthorne evidently presented it, a realm of individuality and a place of connectivity and graceful harmony, in which one is able to explore the identity of all beings and thereafter relate to and “merge together” with these different essences.

Perhaps Ahab does not solely have revenge on his mind – his ruthless (and somewhat maniacal) pursuit of the white whale represents his wish to accomplish the task he set out for himself. It is possible that he seeks to transcend the limitations that have previously disabled him from accomplishing important tasks, rather than to hunt down and kill the whale purely for obvious reasons. I am also quite certain that something is bothering Captain Ahab terribly and consistently, that something still unearthed about his past (which may have resulted in his embittered and hostile attitude toward the whale, and his declaration that killing the whale is an absolute necessity) is yet to be discovered.


Last edited by Angel on Thu May 14, 2009 6:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
avatar
Angel

Posts : 50
Join date : 2009-05-12

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Transcendentalism vs. Anti-Transcendentalism

Post  Ajk on Wed May 13, 2009 9:32 pm

shawanne wrote:In The Scarlet Letter, the transcendentalist themes include the idea of nature being a freeing-ground that lets whoever inside it gain power and youth. This is parallel to Emerson’s ideal that ‘In the woods is perpetual youth…etc.’. His ideas of individuality over society also echo what Emerson had stated in Self-Reliance, that we should trust ourselves (Hester’s courage), and Hester’s relationship with Pearl also echoes an intrinsic study of interconnection with the things around us. However, Hawthorne’s ‘darker’ themes, particularly that of Dimmesdale and Chillingworth with their unhappy endings, are opposite of the unlimited potential beliefs of the Transcendentalists. If the unlimited potential theme was there in the story, the characters probably wouldn’t have suffered as much, this comment relects a really ingrained mastery of this concept of the Transcendentalists, Shawanne. and the strict and grave bearings of the Puritan society (society over self) also echoes a somewhat gloomier feeling than Emerson or Thoreau, and put forth more anti-transcendentalism than transcendentalism. Not necessarily, because Transcendence incorporates transcending over societal conditioning, gloomy or not. And our modern day application of Transcendentalism absolutely includes this exact quality.

Before the climaxing of Moby-Dick, the air of the story was much more hopeful and Ahab did have hope that he would eventually track down and kill the whale; this hopeful attitude reflects the Transcendentalist view of unlimited potential and self-trust (Self-Reliance). He showed, at the beginning, an unparalleled individualism and courage. Right. After the climax, though, when the prophecy is revealed, the storyline descends into a much less hopeful atmosphere, with Ahab starting to doubt himself and ultimately ending up getting killed and having the whale escape. This is exactly the reverse of what it felt like in the beginning of the story, revealing an Anti-Transcendentalist side hidden underneath the seemingly Transcendentalist story. Ahab’s doubt of himself shows that Melville, although having some Transcendentalist qualities, does not (or does not appear to, anyway) believe in unlimited potential of the being. Shawanne, your identificaiton of the issue being Ahab now doubting his abilities as the issue is a fine distinction. good work there, in applying the earlier concepts we've discusses with how our it's our mind at the core of the transcendence or not. His goal no longer becomes ‘rational’ as he is starting to go into ego-mind overdrive, succumbing to his thoughts of revenge; this is a thoroughly non-transcendentalist idea. Precisely. This "over-drive" in today's discussion of the ego-mind would be labeled as destructive emotions, by the Dalai Lama. Emerson and Thoreau’s views differed greatly from this as they both believed in the power of nature to heal and show us the way (Melville included aspects of nature in his story, too, but in a more rough and dark way—the whale, Ahab’s enemy, is a part of nature), plus their views on self-trust differed greatly if we’re looking at Ahab’s breakdown. So while all of these authors have somewhat crossed the same paths in some parts, they ultimately walk on different roads. Well done, Shawanne, you're really mastering these concepts in application, making quality distinctions, rather than just speaking in an easier, more generalized way.
...to be edited somewhat. o.o;

_________________
please see our forum at www.transparency.phpbb9.com/ and
[url]http:transparenteyeballers.blogspot.com[/url][/url]
avatar
Ajk
Admin

Posts : 52
Join date : 2009-05-07

View user profile http://transparency.phpbb9.com; www.transparenteyeballers.blogsp

Back to top Go down

Re: Transcendentalism vs. Anti-Transcendentalism

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum