Comparing the Theme of Nature with Works from Dicknson Whitman and Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated that “the first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature.” Nature in all its forms parallels with life, death, and the soul. Whether the sunshines or the rain falls, whether a flower blooms or willows, nature will always recreate itself and remain a mystery to mankind. To become one with nature, one must explore oneself and know that the simplicity found in it is both divine and perfect. The theme of nature plays a mayor role throughout Whitman, Dickinson, and Emerson’s writings. Each poet conveys his or her view of nature in a unique and symbolic way by searching for the individual or discovering one-self, and coming to terms with death.
Emerson deals with nature in the form of discovering one’s self. His message is one of non-conformity and individuality. He feels that every man is unique within, and thinks that society and tradition are man’s downfalls. In The American Scholar, Emerson explains that “nature is the opposite of the soul, answering to it part for part/ One is seal and one is print. /It’s beauty is the beauty of his own mind. / It’s laws are the laws of his own mind.”(Pg.48). By stating this, he stresses that each man is different and far apart from each other. Emerson uses nature as a means of escape and power. He wants us to “look at the world with new eyes”(Nature, Pg.42) and understand that something as simple as a grain of sand, is beautiful in its own way. Once we can understand this concept of pure existence, than we will know what it is like to be an individual.
Whitman also discuses nature through discovering one’s self, but unlike Emerson, he feels that we as individuals should embrace all society that surrounds us. Whitman sees all men as contributing to the greatness of...