Thoreau vs Dickinson

Topics: Reason, Transcendentalism, Thought Pages: 2 (451 words) Published: April 30, 2013
When thinking of both philosophy and poems in the transcendentalist era who are the main figures that come up? Two of the main figures Dickinson and Thoreau came up with writing based on nature and life. They wrote similarly, yet quite differently as shown in the following two quotes. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, discover that I had not lived-Thoreau and “Tell the Truth but tell it slant…The Truth’s superb surprise…With explanation kind The truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind.-Dickinson.” The similarity between these two pieces, more specifically between these two quotes is a very specific theme that is imbedded, most likely for no particular reason. The theme is quite simple actually; it’s the reaction of one to a specific situation. Even though this theme wasn’t literally fixed or imbedded in these quotes on purposebecause it is not the overarching theme that is part of these quotes, it has been created naturally. Since the overarching theme is human nature a smaller theme as such can arise. The language that is presented in the above quotes is similar because it is figurative. When Thoreau says that “I had not lived” he doesn’t mean I have not lived literally. The real meaning is I had not discovered much about life in the time that I was given to do so. When Dickinson says “Or every man be blind” she is not literally telling her audience that one will literally be blind, but he will be oblivious to what is. The language in these quotes is also different as well because Dickinson uses capitalization for emphasis and Thoreau uses personification. An example of such is “…what it had to teach…” A person can literally teach you, but life cannot. The word “teach” personifies life and is used to put and emphasis on the fact that you can really learn what life is about when observing it. Dickinson uses capitalization for...
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