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Transcendentalism was an American version of Romantic Idealism, a dualistic Neoplatonic view of the world divided into the material and the spiritual.For Emerson, "Mind is the only reality, of which all other natures are better or worse reflectors.He had two main purposes in moving to the pond: to write his first book, , as a tribute to his late brother John; and to conduct an economic experiment to see if it were possible to live by working one day and devoting the other six to more Transcendental concerns, thus reversing the Yankee habit of working six days and resting one.
Proving to be a better scholar than his more fun-loving and popular elder brother John, he was sent to Harvard.
He did well there and, despite having to drop out for several months for financial and health reasons, was graduated in the top half of his class in 1837. In 1837, America was experiencing an economic depression and jobs were not plentiful.
He was hired as the teacher of the Concord public school, but resigned after only two weeks because of a dispute with his superintendent over how to discipline the children.
For a while he and John considered seeking their fortunes in Kentucky, but at last he fell back onto working in his father's pencil factory.
In the fall of the next year, both brothers -- first John and then Henry -- proposed marriage to her.
But because of her father's objections to the Thoreaus' liberal religious views, Ellen rejected both proposals.
Furthermore, Thoreau found himself temperamentally unsuited for three of the four usual professions open to Harvard graduates: the ministry, the law, and medicine.
The fourth, teaching, was one he felt comfortable with, since both of his elder siblings, Helen and John, were already teachers.
Thoreau stayed in the house at Walden Pond for two years, from July 1845 to September 1847.
condenses the experiences of those two years into one year for artistic unity.