In the heir to the crown of this

today’s pop culture, a lot of what we read or watch is connected to the
transcendentalism movement.  Transcendentalism is an American literary, political,
and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century.  Its ideas were grounded in the claim that
divine truth could be known intuitively.  It was based in New England and existed in
various forms from the 1830s to the 1880s. 
Transcendentalism is usually considered an expression of romanticism in
America.  In the movie Princess Diaries,
Mia Thermopolis inhibits a lot of what the transcendentalism
is about.  In this movie Mia Thermopolis played by Anne Hathaway is thrown for
a loop when, from out of the blue, she learns the shocking news that she’s a
real-life princess.  As the heir to the
crown of this small European country known as Genovia, Mia begins a journey
toward the throne when her strict and tough grandmother,
Queen Clarisse Renaldi played by Julie Andrews, shows up to give her
“princess lessons.”  In the
movie Mia thinks she is alone and no one can relate to her.  Tents that are most prevalent in the movie
Princess Diaries are self-reliance, civil disobedience, intuition over
reason and confidence because throughout the movie Mia tries to
be independent, doesn’t want to do what society tells her, listens to her mind
rather than do what is right and believes in herself.

A tenet from the transcendentalism movement is
self-reliance.  Mia only relies on
herself in the beginning of the movie because she thinks she’s the only one
with problems and is alone.  Mia spends
most of her time at home with her cat Fat Louie.  She is a shy person and doesn’t like to be in
the public eye.  An example of Self-Reliance is Henry David Thoreau.  For Thoreau “In most books, the I, of first
person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism,
is the main difference,” (Thoreau).  Thoreau was so devoted to
following his values regarding Self-Reliance that he abandoned society and he
lived in a forest near Walden pond for a year. During this experiment he was
completely self-reliant.  He concluded,
by the end of it that reliance upon yourself in both a logical sense and a
physical sense is necessary for a happy existence. 

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When Mia finds out she is a princess, she is shocked and
doesn’t want to accept it.  She tells her
grandma that she doesn’t want to be a princess and to find someone else.  In this scene of the movie Mia is exhibiting
civil disobedience.  She is not
conforming to what society wants and to do what she is destoned to do.  Thoreau wanted people to “let
your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine,” and not to conform to
something you’re not (Thoreau).  He is
saying that sometimes what the government does will result in occasional
injustice.  However, if a particular
circumstance would require that you impart harm on another person, he’s
advising you to break the law.

In the movie Mia trusted her intuition rather than reason
when she decided to go to a beach party with a jock instead of hanging out with
her friends.  She wants to go out with
the guy because she thinks he’s cute and popular.  This shows the tent intuition over
reason.  An example of this is how people
shouldn’t “… lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may
still exist but you ceased to exist,” and all you want to obtain may be
gone (Thoreau).  Thoreau thought that you
should always go after what you believe in. 
He thinks you should always have them in the back of your mind.  If you lose your dreams you won’t be you

At the end of the movie Mia realizes that she wants to be the
princess of Genovia and accepts the crown. 
She has to stand in front of a crowd, which she doesn’t like to do, and
give a speech saying she accepts being princess.  Mia shows confidence by doing this.  The example for this tenet is Ralph Waldo
Emerson.  In life “nothing is at last
sacred but the integrity of your own mind,” and you should hold on to
it.  (Emerson).  Emerson, just as Thoreau, stood for all of
the basic tenets of transcendentalism, but his philosophy heavily relies on
confidence in an individual’s ability or intuition. Emerson thought that belief
was a greater force than reason because of the individual’s commitment to an
idea they believe in rather than one they deduced. 

In conclusion, in the movie Princess Diaries the tenets self-reliance,
civil disobedience, intuition over reason and confidence
are prevalent throughout the movie.  Mia
demonstrates shyness and nonconformity but throughout the movie and the
guidance of her grandma she changes who she is and becomes a princess. 


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