The Poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Analysis of "A Nation's Strength" by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Context of National Consciousness College

Poetry is arguably the most democratized art form. It is written by the common man, for the common man. As a result, it becomes an effective medium to express sentiments of nationalism which lie in the deep consciousness of the ordinary man, but are not directly expressed. Identification with a piece of poetry which is nationalistic in nature brings these sentiments to the forefront, and has the capacity to create a gushing wave of increased awareness and national consciousness. Such ideas can be reflected in A Nation’s Strength, written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. To better understand A Nation’s Strength and how it enables the poetic voice to unify with a national consciousness, it is essential to understand Emerson’s background, as many shades of his ideologies insidiously make their presence felt in the poem. Emerson was educated at the famed Harvard College in Boston and had a long association with the Church, which continued up until the death of his beloved wife, Ellen. After her death, he could no longer get himself to unquestioningly have faith. This seed of doubt sown in his mind preceded his role in creating the transcendentalism movement. Coming to transcendentalism, this was a movement which started in the 1830s, by a...

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