Nature in American Literature
In American Literature many authors write about nature and how nature affects man's lives. In life, nature is an important part of people. Many people live, work, or partake in revelry in nature. Nature has received attention from authors spanning several centuries. Their attitudes vary over time and also reflect the different outlooks of the authors who chose to discuss this important historical movement. A further examination of this movement, reveals prevalence of nature's influence on man and how it affects their lives.
An early work in American Literature, Thanatopsis, is also one of the most influential works of nature and how it affects man. This work portrays nature as being a part of man's life. In this work nature is rendered all around man and acknowledges the support that nature offers for many of our needs. Nature offers a "voice of gladness…[and a] healing sympathy…[to reveal our] darker musings"(4-6). These offers are an asset to man's life but come few, and is all that nature will offer us. However, this communion with nature also confirms the fact that we are indeed nature's creatures and are subject to its laws. As man dies our bodies must be surrendered to the earth that nourished it. Man must be "…a brother to the insensible rock/And to the sluggish clod…"(27-28), and as food for the oak. When man succumbs, he is buried in the earth, which uses his body to feed other forms of life such as: trees, grass, and plants. Along with your body, your soul is also recycled in the earth and becomes a part of nature. According to this attitude, nature is evident in one man's life. Nature also supplied us with many amenities but then regained when man dies and returns to the earth that provided these gallantries for man.
25 years after Thanatopsis, Emerson wrote of Nature, a work that also discusses the subject of man and nature. In this work, man is an object in the middle of living nature. Nature itself draws us from dependence upon the past and invites us to a richer state of being. Do not remember the past for "[t]he sun shines today…[t]here is more wool and flax in the fields…[t]here are new lands, new men, new thoughts"(215). Which suggests that because there is always a tomorrow. Man should not focus on the present and be more concentrated on what will be happening in the future. Emerson believed that nature was beautiful and nowhere else on earth could he find the majestic settings of the macrocosm. As Emerson declares "[in] wilderness, [he finds] something more dear and connate than in streets or villages"(216). He cannot find anything more loved and kindred than in towns and cities than what he finds in nature. Unlike Thanatopsis, Emerson focuses on the living and not the defunct. He tells us that "[in] the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature"(216). Man's nature...