Explore how Romanticism could affect a person's thoughts or behavior.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I believe that the very essence of the question strikes at the primary motivation of Romanticism.  One of the central issues of Romanticism is how to get individuals to embrace the emotional sensibility within them.  This is where Romanticism can impact how a person thinks or acts because it seeks to create a realm in which individuals are able to assess the world and their place within it.  Romanticism becomes a place whereby individuals are able to act upon their emotional sensibility, repelling the conformity of the social setting.  It is here where the most profound elements of individual thought and action can be seen.  Romanticism strives for individuals to seize the moment, embracing the notion of "carpe diem" in how their world is constructed and the ideas that are valued.  In this, Romanticism is that sanctuary where individuals can forcefully take action that they would normally not take.  For Wordsworth, this can be seen in walking through a field of flowers of listening to the song of the solitary reaper when no one else is around.  For Whitman, this comes out in the form of leaving a lecture hall to examine the stars.  For Keats, this comes in the form of staring at the story in a Greek urn.  In stressing the idea that individuals do not have to conform to the socially accepted standard of being in the world, Romanticism hopes for individuals to take action and thus affect how a person thinks and acts.  The embrace of the subjective, locating all thoughts and actions in the subjective realm, is where Romanticism is really forceful in its idea that human beings can and are able to change their thoughts and actions.


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