The Transparent Eyeball
Nobody understands TJ, so when he finds an abandoned cabin in the woods, it feels to him like a haven from society. But that night, TJ starts having unusually vivid dreams that take him back to the middle of the nineteenth century, where he learns about the American philosophical movement known as Transcendentalism and where he is introduced to a man living in an identical cabin, this one on the shore of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau. TJ soon learns that his classmate Ivy is sharing the dream with him; she enters it as Louisa May Alcott, and he is a teen who is spending the summer with the Alcott family. Together they must solve the mystery of a murdered woman in the woods near Thoreau's cabin, and along the way, they meet such eminent and influential figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, William Ellery Channing—and of course Thoreau.
Solving the murder mystery in the dream requires TJ and Ivy to learn about the beliefs and principles of the Transcendentalists, which reveal to them the foremost social struggle of the day: the abolition of slavery. They also discover the philosophers' views on women's rights and the relationship of humans to the natural world and to one another—and, in a fundamental way, to the idea of God. This information provides just what TJ and Ivy need to solve a mystery back in their waking lives of a missing painting related to the strange cabin in the woods. As he works through the mysteries, TJ finds himself embracing Transcendentalism, and it gives him a new perspective on his real life and how he ultimately wants to live it.
Kaye, Sharon M., "The Transparent Eyeball" (2020). 2020 Faculty Bibliography. 17.
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