To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic, was said by Oscar Wilde. There are three main romantics beliefs the pieces of literature we read, they are that you should value the individual over society, to understand yourself you must first understand nature, and that you need to be your own person in life. First of all there was the belief that the individual was valued over society.
One example of this is in the piece Social-Reliance in which Emerson wrote; Society everywhere is in the conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its membersin which the members agreeto surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. This is saying that society is out to mold man into what it sees him fit to be. Society is always at your heels trying to turn you into a sheep and to follow the lead of one man. To surpass society you must first be able to look past and beyond it to explore goodness, and absolve to yourself.
If you can accomplish that you will have the suffrage of the world. To lead yourself you have to follow your instincts of what you feel right and not what society tells you is right. By doing this society will have a harder time to mold you into what it wants you to think. Another example is the essay Walden by Thoreau. In the essay he had moved away from society into a shelter type house to escape about a mile from the town. He wanted to live his life as simple as he could, so he had nothing but what he felt were the necessities.
By doing this he found the divine within himself. You can only find the divine if you are one with yourself and separate from society. Finally there was an exert from Resistance to civil government in which Thoreau was thrown in jail for not paying a tax to the state. He was thrown in jail for believing in himself over what society expected of him. This shows a lot of control on Thoreaus part to be able to go with his gut as you might say. While he was in jail he felt as if it were not punishment but a reward for not paying his tax.
He did not have to pay for food, housing or any of the other things that he would have to pay for if he were not in jail. He felt as he was freer then the people on the outside of the stone walls, because of the freedom he has there and that society can not reach him. If you can avoid society it is easier to put yourself above it. Likewise they believed that you needed to understand nature to understand yourself. Which means that you can only discover who you are by exploring it through nature.
Emerson shows this in Nature.. In the exert man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature. This is saying that you view nature as you view yourself. That if you see nature as a beautiful and magnificent thing that is how you will see yourself. Similarly if you understand nature greatly you will know yourself better. As Emerson said you become a transparent eyeball and see all what is happening and grasp it with an understanding beyond your belief. You are able to see all that is happening in your world, and you are able to understand it as God does. Emerson also shows it in The American Scholar..
It says To young minds everything is individualit finds how to join two things and see them as one nature; then threeit goes on tying things together, diminishing anomalies, discovering roots running under groundremote things cohere and flower out from one stem. Which means that as a young man starts in life he sees every thing as an individual piece. Yet as he gains wisdom from nature he slowly begins to realize the every thing is connected to one root. As you discover that, your beginning to realize that understanding is a gate way to the divine, and to get knowledge of yourself.
And the poem Water Fowl by Bryant shows this as well. As he watches a lone bird fly along guided by no physical force he wonders what is steering it in the right direction. As he thinks more deeply about it he finds that it is the divine that steers him right, as it doe the bird. He discovers this from within he sees that he is connected to the bird by some invisible force. This force also keeps him on the right track if he just listens to it. Finally there is the belief that you need to be your own person in life. The famous quote Most men lead lives of quite desperation by Thoreau is a great example of this.
It is saying that most people are not happy with thy way they are living. Most people are living in secret. They are keeping their true emotions hidden and show only show the ones that they feel society wants to see. Many people want to express themselves, but they are afraid of what others will think of them. That also keeps them from reaching their goals. If they break that fear they will be happier in life, and they will be able to be there on person and not live by the rules which society has put in place for them. Then there is another example in The American Scholar by Emerson.
Meek young men grow upBelieving that it is their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have giveninstead of man thinking, we have the bookwormwho values books, as such; not related to nature and to human constitutionBooks are the best of things, well used; abusedthey are for nothing but to inspire why would you use book to learn the present, they are of the past, and have no practical use for them. If you are to be yourself you need to use books only to inspire you to write your own book, or find the truth with in yourself.
Thoreau says in Resistance to civil Government.. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue sitting upon another mans shoulders. I must off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. If he is riding on another mans life he just as well should have committed suicide. He has no true self he is hiding in another mans life. He sees the world through that persons eye and can only watch. If he wants to have control over a life he needs to take control of his life and stop hiding from his fears.
Valuing yourself over nature, understanding yourself is also understanding nature, and you need to be your own person and lead your own life are three main beliefs that were shown in the literature that we read. To value yourself over society you have to be able to have confidence in what others think of you, ands be able to say what you feel right. Nature is only as beautiful as you make it. You are only able to see in yourself as far as you can see into nature, so you have to get in touch with nature and accept it as a guide to your life. You have to be your own person to be happy in life. If your not it is like you have committed suicide.
The person you are is dead and the person you want to be is thriving within you. If no one acted or thank for themselves everyone in the world would eventually become the same person. I see all these beliefs of Romanticism today. If you take the time to look for them within yourself or others you will see them too. The most important thing I have learned from them is to be yourself, and do not worry what others think of you. If they think of you as a fool now they will respect you later for having the courage for doing something that blows there mind. Thus you will become more in touch with your real self.