Transcendentalism Objectives

In this unit, we will: 

  • learn about the tenets of the transcendentalism movement in 19th-century New England,
  • consider whether those tenets are present in contemporary film and literature, 
  • examine whether or not we still practice any of them today, and
  • learn new vocabulary words taken from the works in the unit.

We will be reading excerpts:

  • from works written by Ralph Waldo Emerson,
  • from the novel Walden by Henry David Thoreau, and
  • from works written about modern-day transcendentalist Chris McCandless

And we will also perhaps be watching:

  • clips from the film “Into the Wild”

This unit will help you meet the course objectives of:

  • Being able to read and interpret a variety of written material (including, in this unit, narrative and expository text),
  • Being able to use literature as a point of departure for other thoughtful activities (including understanding history), and
  • Being able to write for a variety of purposes, including being able to write a compelling, well-supported persuasive essay.

One major assignment corresponding with this unit will be:

  • a personal narrative about how you do/do not practice transcendentalism in your own life.