AP English 11 classes explore the nature of transcendentalism

Students step outside and get “Thoreau” with learning

Abby Asimos, Features Editor

To fully immerse themselves in true transcendentalist spirit, AP English 11 classes bundled up and stepped outside for an eye-opening nature walk.

“We do our nature walk every year as a part of our transcendental unit,” said AP English 11 teacher Tasha Hurst. “Both Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson praise the value and freedom that comes from being in nature.”

After reading and studying Henry David Thoreau’s “Walking,” students tried thinking outside of the box, or in this case, school.

“I thought walking through nature was cool and different,” said junior Jared Chung. “I liked getting outside of the classroom to learn about Transcendentalism. I think we all really felt ‘free.’”

Both the unit and the stroll around Ocean Lakes encouraged students to think like a transcendentalist.

“Learning about transcendentalism inspired me to think less about conforming to society,” said junior Trina Doan. “The nature walk energized me; I love learning and experiencing the beauty of nature, even if it’s just right outside OL.”

The nature walk was unchaperoned in order to evoke self-reliance, an essential component of transcendentalism.

“Students may not always follow the directions or fully participate in the outlined discussions about the literature, but isn’t that the point after all? Breaking free from the rules and constraints of society? They always, however, enjoy the freedom and the fresh air,” said Hurst.

The students came back refreshed with a renewed appreciation for transcendentalism.

“I want students to go outside, observe, and breathe in the fresh air. They are able to feel, even if just for 30 minutes, Emerson and Thoreau’s messages,” said Hurst. “Students are often so stressed with so much work, practice, homework. There is so much value in taking a break from it all and going for a walk.”