Walden

Nature in the Eyes of Two Transcendentalists 10th Grade

Often referred to as the leading writer of transcendentalism, Unitarian Ralph Waldo Emerson directed thousands in the 19th century to rediscovery of self through his literature. Among them, young New Englander Henry David Thoreau mirrored Emerson’s revolutionary ideas yet simultaneously brought new ideals. In their works “Nature” and “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”, the authors demonstrate similarities through the pursuit of individualism and independence through nature. However, nature’s varying roles reveal the differences in the authors’ spiritual stances. Ultimately, the all-inclusive structure of Emerson’s piece establishes it as the more effective treatment of self and nature.

Both Emerson and Thoreau use descriptive imagery and metaphor to capture the grandiose and significance of nature in their followers' lives. To both authors, nature is synonymous with freedom, freedom being escaping the rapid pace of the industrializing world. Thoreau mockingly comments on the constant expansion of railroads and the never-ending labor and grief that comes with it. In fact, he believes that innovations reveal that “[American society] is determined to be starved before [they] are hungry” (Thoreau 3). Continuing this thought,...

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