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Compare And Contrast The Relationship Between Man And Nature In Emerson And Thoreau

2144 words - 9 pages

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life; and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”.Here in this essay, it is divided into two parts exploring the two various extracts from Emerson and Thoreau. Both these textsexchange individual views on the relationship between Man and Naturebut I would like to focus more on the similarities than the differences of this relationship.
The opening lines “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life….” from the extract “Where I lived, and what I lived for” by Thoreau represents clearly the relationship between man and nature as it not only questions the place of dwelling (nature) and the meaning of life (philosophical) but also refers to the basic amenities of man like food and shelter. Thoreau comes back to nature to live in accordance and appreciate what it has to offer. It seems here that the purpose of life is to live and not be distracted elsewhere and later regret this sole purpose of living. This is what he was trying to seek out, but it rather seems a difficult task to experience it all in one lifetime. So, this could be seen as a trial of an idea he longed to test it out once in his lifetime.
Thoreau uses a lot of personificationin this text where life is compared to ants, pygmies and cranes as seen in this line:“Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes…”.His message here is simple, he reminds us to be content with life and live simply and that one does not need more than what is necessary. Unlike nature, man is always seen to be consuming more than they should and in the process is never content so he asks to reduce consumption. He travels into the woods where he experiences life to be unattached and free of the daily duties. He uses this example “Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuation, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment” in his text to portray how life is constantly changing but one must not be in haste to live life as that is when the perceptions are clearer and fear is diminished.
He asks us to spend one day as deliberately as nature without any disturbances from the outside world, sending a message to let nature remain as it is, untouched and serene and man must accept reality for what it is and not tame it. In nature there is life and with that there is death just as dawn breaks and dusk follows at the end of the day.He encourages one to use nature and all that is natural to adapt with the environment and to live accordingly in his sentence “Let us spend one day as deliberately as nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wings that falls on the rails... ”. He uses references to Spartan twice“…a stern...

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