Class: First Year Seminar 125G
Instructor: Chocos, Theodora & Welsh, Polly
Name: Xianglong Tao
AB notes for part2
About Bronson Alcott
i. Before Henry David refused to pay tax, Bronson Alcott also did not pay tax.
ii. Bronson Alcott was interested in education, “born in unpleasant circumstances on
a farm in Northern Connecticut, Alcott fancied himself an educational
philosopher even as a schoolboy” (60).
iii. Bronson Alcott ever got his real education in Tidewater, “He saw freedom of the
wealthy and decided to adopt it for himself” (60).
iv. He was a kind man though “he thought that his daughter Louisa was naughty
because of her dark eyes and hair”(60). However, “he sheltered runaway slaves in
v. Ralph Waldo Emerson ever admired Bronson Alcott, “His discourse soars to
wonderful height, so regular, so lucid, so playful, so new and disdainful of all
boundaries of tradition and experience” (61). Though compared to his friends, his
education background was not as strong as them, “his writing sometimes seems to
use ornate pedantry to make up for his lack of education.
vi. Bronson Alcott ever wrote his views about education in the book Conversations
with Children on the Gospels, this book was against society’s view.
vii. Bronson Alcott opened a school named Temple School, “where children could be
educated as if their interest were important, and men and women could live in
viii. Bronson Alcott believed that private property was wrong; he got support from the
journalist Charles Lane.
ix. “In 1843, Alcott and Lane began the “consociate” community in which their
ideas could be put to the test.” (63) They started a experiment which was named
x. “Alcott’s ideas prohibited any exploitation of animals” (64). People in this
experiment were away from the real society. In other words, they did not have
any private property.
xi. This experiment started in July 1843 and failed in December. “In most of those
communities, sex was regarded as a portion of the lowly physical part of human
endeavor. In some, it was practiced completely without regulations-the freedom
was direct.”(66) However, “Bronson never seems to have decided exactly what
role sex should play in his consociate society ….his spiritual freedom”(67).
About Louisa May Alcott
i. Louisa May Alcott, “who at age of ten was already considerably more adult and
more observant than her dreamy father as the family moved out on this great
mystic adventure” (63)
ii. Alcott wrote her opinion about God in her journal, “Father asked us what was
God’s noblest work. Anna said men, but I said babies. Men are often bad; babies
never are” (64)
iii. When her father Bronson Alcott did the “Fruitlands”, she wrote her view about it.
“ Later in life when she was rich and successful and could write what she wanted,
she made fun of the whole thing in her short 1873 memoir Transcendental Wild
“Thoreau was always a lucky fisher man”(75) “ he sometimes seemed careless about
human world than animal world” (72)
i. By 1843, Emerson tried to find a work for Thoreau, “Emerson wrote to his cousin
William Emerson, who lived on Staten Island, New York, asking if he needed a
tutor for his children. Thoreau got the job” (72)
ii. Thoreau could not feel happy by doing this job, “I can remember when I was
more enriched by a few cheap rays of light falling on the pond-side than by this
broad sunny day” (72)
iii. Thoreau missed his friends, family, the scenery in Concord so much, “He was
homesick for Concord” (73). He learned building skills from his father, and he
decided to build his first house, “their homes, including the Parkman House,
which is now the Concord Free Public Library” (74)
iv. Thoreau and his friends Hoar were laughed as “thoughtless and careless” in the
local paper Concord Freeman because they made mistake in hunting.
v. Thoreau always got helps from Emerson, “Emerson would once again provide the
solution for his indigent, inconvenient friend Thoreau” (76)
About Margaret Fuller
i. Fuller’s friend Sarah Clarke wrote about Fuller, “She not only did not speak lie
after our foolish social customs,…..Your outworks fell before her first assault and
you were at her mercy”(81)
ii. “Many men became entangled with Fuller’s combination of erotic power and
sexual confusion, but few more than Hawthorne and Emerson” (81). “Fuller was
unafraid, unafraid of her own brilliance and not afraid to be bitchy” (81).
iii. Fuller ever worked with Emerson together on the first issues of The Dial, and
Fuller visited Emerson’s house for few weeks.
iv. Fuller was an attractive woman, “Although Hawthorne was secretly engaged to
Sophia Peabody, his ambivalent about marriage in general” (81). “Fuller got an
imaginative ferment and light into the lives of the Emerson and Hawthorne
families” (82). Emerson’s wife Lidian and Sophia doubted their husbands loved
fuller. “But the middle of the nineteenth century was a time when sexual energy
was pent up in the country, and all these people were high-minded prudes, usually
too wrapped up in Geothe to be thinking about the carnal aspect of love.”(85)
v. “Forming her feminist views, Fuller was outspokenly aware of the way marriage
was a trap for the women she knew” (84) Fuller did not think her and her
brethrens’ lives could be happy if their do not have work, power. “With the
intellect I always have always shall overcome, but that is not half of the work. The
life, oh my God! Shall the life never be sweet?”(84).
vi. In 1846, Margaret Fuller became the first woman editor of Horace Greeley’s
Tribune in New York City.
i. Emerson “was a complicated character, a sorrowing man of many losses, a
brilliant intellect who could distill experience into startling essays, an unhappy
husband, a great lecturer and teacher”(86).
ii. When people attacked Bronson Alcott’s view about education, Emerson bravely
expressed his opinion, “I hate to have all the little dogs barking at you….For you
have something better to do than attend them: but every beast must do after its
kind,& why not these” (61)
iii. His nice personality and thoughts attracted many people joined his
transcendentalism club such as Bronson Alcott, “a loose-knit group of men and
women who got together to discuss important things whenever the Reverend
Frederic Hedge…” (101).
iv. Emerson trust himself that his thinking about god and human nature was right.
“Emerson was not admired by everyone-someone thought his lectures absurdly
v. Emerson still have close relationship with Fuller, they ever worked together on
i. “Herman Melville-a writer famous for his shipboard dramas-who was staying in
nearby Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at a farm owned by his cousin” (96). He was
close friend for Hawthorne. Melville influenced Hawthorne on his writing.
ii. “Melville, a successful writer of books that combined adventure with travel,
based on his own firsthand experience, had already embarked on a book about
whaling that was to be based on his time on the Acushnet and on other whalers’
iii. Melville travelled a lot of places, and he communicated with Hawthorne and
expressed his experience, “Melville had already been around the world, fallen in
and out of love with islands and their inhabitants, weathered moral and climatic
storms that were somewhere beyond even Hawthorne’s imagination.”(98)
iv. “Melville was on top of the world, the most generous of men, able to love men
and women, a man who had experienced all kinds of things and couldn’t wait to
i. “In the 1840s, it was not permitted for women to enjoy sex, but in the
Transcendental world of bohemian life with financing often tenuous and poverty
haunting everything, sexual favor seem to have sometimes been bartered for
ii. Hawthorne was aware of the thrills and guilt’s of sexual relationship outside of
marriage. He was “aware of the power of sex to ruin lives, as it does in The
Scarlet Letter” (69).
iii. Emerson, Alcott, and Hawthorne married women “who would help them
financially or emotionally or both. Still, all these men were also modern enough
to think of their needs outside of marriage as important” (69) Three men
considered about their marriages, their emotions, and their views about the
relationship between men and women.