Biography Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay Research

Biography Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay, Research Paper

Ralph Waldo Emerson certainly took his place in the history of

American Literature . He lived in a time when romanticism was

becoming a way of thinking and beginning to bloom in America, the

time period known as The Romantic Age. Romantic thinking stressed on

human imagination and emotion rather than on basic facts and reason.

Ralph Waldo Emerson not only provided plenty of that, but he also

nourished it and inspired many other writers of that time. “His

influence can be found in the works of Henry David Thoreau, Herman

Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and Robert

Frost.”. No doubt, Ralph Waldo Emerson was an astute and intellectual

man who influenced American Literature and has rightly received the

credit that he deserves from historians. He has been depicted as a

leading figure in American thought and literature, or at least ranks

up there with the very best. But there is so much more to Ralph Waldo

Emerson when we consider the personal hardships that he had to endure

during the course of his life and when we see the type of man that he

becomes. He certainly was a man of inspiration who knew how to

express himself by writing the best of poems and philosophical ideas

with inspiration.

To get an idea of how Ralph Waldo Emerson might have become such

an inspiration to the people, some background on his life is

essential. Can you imagine living a life with all your loved ones

passing away one by one? A persons life could collapse into severe

depression, lose hope, and lose meaning. He can build a morbid

outlook on life. Ralph Waldo Emerson suffered these things. He was

born on May 25, 1803 and entered into a new world, a new nation just

beginning. Just about eight years later, his father would no longer

be with him, as William Emerson died in 1811. The Emerson family was

left to a life marked by poverty. Ralph’s mother, Ruth, was left as a

widow having to take care of five sons. However, Ralph’s life seemed

to carry on smoothly. He would end up attending Harvard College and

persue a job of teaching full time. While teaching as a junior pastor

of Boston’s Second Church, his life gained more meaning when he

married Ellen Louisa Tucker. Journal entries and love letters he

wrote at that time expressed lots of feelings and emotions that he

had. But after two short years of marriage, Ellen died of

tuberculosis. Suddenly, the one true person he had in his life was

gone. Life was losing it’s meaning, and Ralph Waldo Emerson was in

need of some answers. This dark period drove him to question his

beliefs. Emerson resigned from the Second Church and his profession

as a pastor in search for vital truth and hope. But his father and

wife were not the only deaths that he had to deal with. His strength

and endurance would be put to the test much further with a perennial

line of loved ones dying. His brother Edward, died in 1834, Charles

in 1836, and his son Waldo (from his second wife Lydia Jackson) in

1842. After such a traumatic life, you might expect that Emerson,

like any other person,would collapse into severe depression, lose

hope, and lose meaning to his life. But Emerson was different. He

found the answers within himself and rebounded into a mature man.

After surviving a mentally hard life, Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed

to gain more discernment toward life. Wisdom is gained through

experience. By 1835, Emerson’s rare and extravagant spirit was ready

to be unleashed. All his deep feelings, emotions, and thoughts

fabricated truth the way he arrived at truth, within himself. “To

believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in

your private heart is true for all men- that is genius. Speak your

latent conviction and it shall be the universal sense; for always the

inmost becomes the outmost-and our first thought is rendered back to

us by the trumpets of the last judgment.” Emerson fully believed this

and supported it by taking part in a new philosophical movement

called Transcendentalism. In 1836, his first boot, Nature, was

published. Nature expressed the main points of Transcendentalism.

With this, Ralph Waldo Emerson started the Transcendental Club the

same year. This club published a magazine called The Dial, fully

promulgating philosophy, literature, and Emerson’s truth fearlessly.

He was starting to gain recognition. The young were opening their

minds, and the old were impressed. Harvard was so impressed of him

that ther asked him to give several addresses. In 1837, he gave a

well-known address called “The American Scholar” in which he outlined

his philosophy of humanism. A year later, he gave another address,

called “The Divinity School Address.” This argued about Christianity

at that time for being too traditional and ritualistic in its ways.

These methods didn’t fill the people’s spiritual need. Emerson showed

his liking under a new religion founded by nature. Truly, by the

crowds that he drew, Emerson refreshed the minds, of people who were

thirsting for some truth. And who better to provide this than Emerson

himself, who, through many distresses, searched within himself and

became a man with life again.

This man, of inspiration, full of truth, goodness, and beauty

became a part of classic American literature. His expressions were

absorbed into some of the most exceptional essays, poems, and

philosophical ideas ever created. His famous essays

are “History,” “Art,” “The Poet,” and the famous “Self-Reliance.” He

gathered his essays into two volumes. The first was released in 1841,

and the second was released in 1844. Poems however, also made

Emerson’s reputation as a erudite man. His poems were enjoyable as

well as thought provoking to many. “Each and All,” was a poem that

supported his beliefs. “The Rhodora,” as well as “The Humble Bee,”

and “The Snow Storm,” touched on the greatness of nature. Emerson

also expressed himself through poems such as “Uriel,” “The

Problem,” “The Sphinx,” and the well-known “Days.” Many of these

works of Emerson have taken there place in the history of American


Thus, we now see what truly a great man Emerson was. We gain a

deep respect for him when we consider the hardships that he had to

face, how he endured those problems, and the minds that he opened and

touched by his wonderful works. In conclusion, we can truly say that

Emerson is well deserving of the credit he received from historians.


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