Emerson's Nature and Transcendentalism

Topics: Universe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism Pages: 1 (362 words) Published: September 15, 2013
The main theme of Emerson’s essay, “Nature” is the unity of man and nature with God. This ideology is called transcendentalism and branches from the theme of the relationship between man and nature. One of four major characteristics of transcendentalism shown within Emerson’s essay is that an individual is the spiritual center of the universe and in an individual the clue to nature can be found. Emerson is of the view that nature gives a human being so much; the sun, the trees, place to live. When he is alone in the woods he can feel himself being one with the nature as a result of which he can also feel the presence of god within him and all around him. Secondly the structure of the universe literally duplicates the structure of the individual self. Creating a link between the landscape and the stars, Emerson states that everything in the Universe is linked to one another. Instead of being a collection of joined objects, he sees nature as a unified whole. Thirdly transcendentalists accepted the conception of nature as a living mystery full of signs, nature is symbolic. What Emerson makes clear is that though we can see the stars and they are accessible, they are only accessible visibly. The truth is that we cannot access the stars because of the great distance between the stars and the Earth. Similarly, we cannot see nature clearly because we are full of judgment from our busy lives. We must see nature like a child, without judgment, through plain view. Lastly is the belief that individual virtue and happiness can only be found through the desire to embrace the whole world and withdraw from an egotistical existence. It is essential to see nature plainly instead of seeing it superficially as most of us do and Emerson states that he is one of the lucky individuals who sees nature plainly. Because of the reason that he sees nature plainly he is living a life full of peace and solitude. If you take only one thing away from Emerson’s essay, it is that nature can only...
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