Juniors: Piecing Together Transcendentalism

In our final week of the study of Transcendentalism, we will look to put the final pieces together: nature and intuition. Through our reading of Thoreau’s “Walden,” Joyce Carol Oates’ “Journey,” and Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” we will strengthen our understanding of how individualism and nature, social reform and civil disobedience, intuition and oversoul all are linked through the philosophy of Transcendentalism.

Students will also plan their final project on Transcendentalism. This project allows students to determine which facet of the philosophy most appeals to them and explore it. Students will share their project ideas with me for approval, then they will have two weeks to complete the project. Over the course of those two weeks, students will be given two class periods to work, which means the majority of the project will be done on their own time. To accommodate, we will increase readers workshop time in class.

Parents, how can you help?

  • There is no neat and tidy definition of Transcendentalism. It’s a philosophy—full of complex connections and abstract ideas. If your child is struggling to grasp Transcendentalism, help them determine if the problem is wanting a concrete answer when there is none or if the problem lies in a poor understanding of the key components. If students need help understanding the key components, (i.e. nature, individualism, intuition, oversoul, etc.) encourage them to seek help from me.
  • Discuss your child’s project idea with him or her. Help them brainstorm or develop the project into something important.