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Transendentalism In Emerson

’s Poetry Essay, Research Paper Ralph Waldo Emerson always considered himself a poet despite his many volumes of Essays and other works. Therefore this essay only deals with Emerson s poetry. Emerson told a lot with his prose but he told more with his poetry. Often, fundamental aspects of transcendentalism are shown through literary devices in his poetry.

’s Poetry Essay, Research Paper

Ralph Waldo Emerson always considered himself a poet despite his many volumes of Essays and other works. Therefore this essay only deals with Emerson s poetry. Emerson told a lot with his prose but he told more with his poetry. Often, fundamental aspects of transcendentalism are shown through literary devices in his poetry. Of these, the idea of the Over-Soul is one of the most common. Emerson uses many literary devices to illustrate the Over-Soul in his poetry.

In the poem The Rhodora, the author, Ralph Waldo Emerson uses many literary devices to show his transcendentalist views. One of those devices is the use of Apostrophe by directly addressing the inanimate object. “Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why”(9). He addresses the flower because he wishes to show his spiritual unity with all living things. He talks to the flower as if it were a contemporary because he sees he is no better than nature and that they share the same soul. This soul is known to most transcendentalists as the Over-Soul. He also uses rhyme in the Rhodora to show the flow of the universe and the flow of nature. Overall, the poem the Rhodora shows the transcendentalist view of the beauty of nature for the sake of the beauty of nature. “Then Beauty is its own excuse for being”(12). Also, the poem the Rhodora uses pathetic fallacy on its own author. He was in a good mood when approaching the Rhodora and therefore the poem shows how nature amplifies his mood.

Also, in the poem Brahma, Emerson illustrates the transcendentalist belief of the Over-Soul by talking of the Hindu s belief of reincarnation and a universal self. The universal self is Brahma and to Emerson it is the Over-Soul. He uses paradoxes to show that we are all connected or at least that a higher power of ourselves can be used to find the answers to life s problems which seem simple and contradictory but are instead complex and complementary.

The poem Concord Hymn by Emerson shows the Over-Soul in yet another light. The last stanza:

“Spirit, that made those heroes dare

To die and leave their children free,

Bid Time and Nature gently spare

The shaft we raise to them and thee.”(13-16)

This shows that while the men may die; they will live on in the Over-Soul and the lives of their children who will be free due to their efforts. Also it uses an “abab” rhyme scheme to show the order of the Minute Men as they marched into battle.

In conclusion, the poet and author Ralph Waldo Emerson used many literary techniques to illustrate the transcendentalist idea of the Over-Soul. It is shown through the connection and rhyme of his poems and also with the use of Apostrophe and Personification and other literary devices. But it is shown most by one thing: subject.

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