Nature In Emerson Essay, Research Paper
Analogy of Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson explores the intricate tie amongst nature, man, and language. His function is to define reason and understanding through nature. Emerson uses the analogy between mans life and the transformation he finds through his soul. He changes the idea of logic and reason, but its meaning remains similar. He draws on images of flowing events and metaphorical illustrations. Nature represents all essences untouched by man. He changes previous ways of thinking, such as Franklin, where God is rational. Emerson uses this analogy to respond to ideas of the Enlightenment and its beliefs. However, nature is separate from spiritual reality. Emerson uses the image of seeing to portray nature as mystical, nonconforming, and based on reason and understanding.
Emerson uses the image of the eye, and vision, to portray the direct communication with nature. Nature becomes invisible and will “vanish” and is seen no more. The last few lines say, “?he shall enter without more wonder than the blind man feels who is gradually restored to sight.” Only through faith can we trust in nature and its unity of the universe. Emerson embraced nature, and saw beauty resided everywhere. His interpretation of nature is with “new eyes,” and becomes a natural world with a higher reality.
Emerson encourages nonconformity and individualism. It begins; “To go into solitude?” a man needs to retreat from society in order to discover nature. This break from society enables man to become “tranquil somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.” The woods become his “platform of experience.” As he becomes a part of the forest, solitude enables him to be self-reliant. Man must think for himself, “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.”
Reason and understanding are repetitive terms, which interchange to portray different meanings. Previously, many American authors used the analogy of good reason. In the Age of Reason, Franklin was
clear thinking, and the interpretation of nature was seen through a rational God. Emerson, however, celebrates reason through nature. The idea of logic and reason changes, but remains similar in function. Reason and faith become intertwined as he says, “in the woods, we return to reason and faith.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines reason as the “Basis or motive for an action, decision, feeling or belief.” Emerson defines reason as mystical and idealistic. The only way of understanding reason is through faith. Emerson’s interpretation of reason is through intuition, not logical reasoning. He says, “?the natures of Justice, Truth, Love, Freedom, arise and shine, this universal soul he calls Reason.” We belong to reason, “we are its; we are its property.”
Emerson shifts from one aspect of nature to another. Through the analogy of nature we can see the beauty of the world. Nature is nonconforming, its own microcosm, and “faithfully renders the likeness of the world.” Emerson transcends himself above society, into a world of understanding. He changes mans way of thinking. Previously, authors such as Edwards portray nature and God as innately evil. Here nature is a mystical experience of the natural world. Through reason, understanding, and faith, we discover the “Unity of Nature-the Unity of Variety, which meets us everywhere.”