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2 pages /
Transcendentalism, as described by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is searching for one’s own way to connect with oneself and finding peace from within. Discoveries such as necessities, desires, and nature reflect one’s findings. The only way to not conform to another through Transcendentalism is by designing your own designated path to follow. In the 1820s, the two writers that were most influential in the philosophy are Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'The Father of Transcendentalism', and Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about his own experiences with nature in the text, Walden. Although created almost two hundred years ago, Transcendentalism is still seen throughout modern society. Similar to Thoreau, Edgar Burroughs creator of the movie, Tarzan of the Apes, tells a story of Tarzan’s experience with nature but with a modern-day twist. The main character, Tarzan, is born in the African jungle to human parents but is raised by apes. Growing up in the jungle allowed Tarzan to develop the skills of a warrior and fierce fighter. He is completely in synch with his surroundings, and this has led him to a happy lifestyle. Tarzan can be considered a modern-day Transcendentalist as living completely immersed in nature and being raised by apes prove he upholds the Transcendentalist tenets of the importance of nature and simplified life.
Living completely immersed in nature has led the modern-day example, Tarzan, to demonstrate the Transcendentalist tenet of the importance of nature. Published in 1854, Walden, espoused a life full of nature which Tarzan also adopted into his life. This eloquent account describes Thoreau’s two-year experience in a cabin built by himself near Walden Pond in Massachusetts. There he was taught the importance of living a life in close harmony with nature. When Thoreau explains his purpose for moving to the woods he states, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” (Thoreau 406). With Tarzan, living deliberately means enjoying the environment that raised him, and using it to its full extent. He uses vines to swing and travel great distances in a shorter amount of time, feeds off of the fruit and animals he finds in the jungle, and even communicates with the animals around him to take full advantage of his natural surroundings. Although he is alone in the jungle, Tarzan has found ways to make every moment count and live efficiently. Tarzan states, “Oh, I never take the stairs. I usually take the curtains ”(Legend of Tarzan 0:22). Tarzan implies that he uses curtains to get around instead of the stairs because taking the stairs is associated with civilized regular life. To swing on the curtains inside and vines outside would be like Thoreau and refusing to die without living. Thoreau and Tarzan could have lived dull lives but instead, they utilized their surroundings and lived simplified lives.
Being raised by apes has led the modern-day example, Tarzan, to demonstrate the Transcendentalist tenet of a simplified life. Walden, Thoreau’s famous commentary on a simplified lifestyle, put his beliefs into perspective as he walked the forests of Massachusetts. Living in a compact cabin taught Thoreau that when alone in nature, life is simple. Thoreau believed that living in civilization results in useless complexity. Thoreau says, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand… simplify, simplify, simplify… the nation itself… is just an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense… and the only cure for it as for them is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose” (Thoreau 406-407). The modern-day example, Tarzan, shows some of the simplest ways of life. From an early age, Tarzan's parents died. He was taken and raised by apes. Tarzan grew up without knowledge of his “human” life, always believing he was an ape himself. His language was also simplified. With the assistance of the tools and books left from his parents' cabin, Tarzan was able to teach himself to read and write, but not speak. Tarzan even loves without complications. Tarzan states, “I am Tarzan of the Apes. I want you. I am yours. You are mine. We live here together always in my house. I will bring you the best of fruits, the tenderest deer, the finest meats that roam the jungle. I will hunt for you. I am the greatest of the jungle” (Burroughs). Living a simplified life is in the absence of fancy things and luxuries, it is vital to achieving true peace and happiness in one's life. In both Thoreau and in Tarzan, the luxuries of life are stripped away and only use what is necessary to live, and this lack of luxuries allows them to achieve their goals. Thoreau was able to escape conformity and live simply, and Tarzan, through his upbringing, was able to eventually find love in Jane.
The tenets of the importance of nature and simplified life demonstrate Tarzan is a modern-day Transcendentalist because he lives deliberately in nature and his upbringing with apes. These tenants are importantly strewn into both works because they intend to perpetuate the ideas. Today, life can be described by an abundance of luxuries and complicated living. To take time to eliminate technology and simplify your schedule, like Thoreau and Tarzan, can allow you to have a greater focus on achieving your goals. Everyone can learn from both of these works to simplify their living and incorporate an aspect of nature into their lives to find a happier lifestyle.
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