Thoreau And Emerson Comparison Free Essay

Nature Ralph Walden Emerson and Henry David Thoreau Walden

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

‘Nature’ and ‘Walden’ are two art works basically giving the similar messages to the readers. Their writers are different but one of the things which make these works similar is Henry David Thoreau is affected by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works and ideas very much. Secondly, their essays are both inspired from transcendentalism movement. Finally, their theme are both the same, they deal with mainly the idea of ‘nature’. While comparing these two essays, it is better to look at them deeper separately. Nature is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and published in 1836.

The importance of this work is that transcendentalism arose with this art of work. Transcendentalism is mainly a combination of reason and emotion; in a more detailed way, transcendentalism is about self-reliance. One has to look into herself/himself and turn her/his face to the nature, purity and has to be away from society, and their mind is supposed not to be full of organized believes and political theories. This movement became a leading aspect in literature with the publication of Nature; therefore, when analyzing the work ‘Nature’, the main features of transcendentalism will be encountered and understood better.

In Nature, Emerson explains the relationship between man and nature. In the nature, every object is simple and sign of wisdom. In earth, as living creatures, people have pleasures and this is not only because they are human but also due to the nature. When people look at nature, they realize the perfectness, happiness of the nature. They realize the existence of God. Nature makes people realize that they are a part of God. In nature, everything is designed for humanity. People get benefits from nature. Everything in it is interconnected and they serve to people.

By this perception, Emerson also implies that nature is alive, surrounding and serving to human. By his transcendentalist perception, Emerson also implies everything that human is need of is in nature, so people must look at and live the nature, they must be purified from dirtiness of the society and industry. Emerson also defines beauty in Nature. Beauty must be searched in the nature. Beauty is the pleasure of perceiving the nature. Emerson links the morality and nature because all two has extreme purity. God give people virtue and intellect. With these features, people can reach the beauty, the ruthiness of nature.

Emerson sees these values as a part of nature, and man can be relieved only in nature. Nature connects people to each other. As a living aspect, nature has a language. Language is a combination of systematic symbols. Also nature has symbols in it. People use these symbols to be able to understand each other and the nature. In other words, nature provides people communication. According to Emerson, man and nature are in interconnection. They are dependent, if man behaves nature in a good way, so the nature serves the man in a best way.

Therefore, man has to follow the nature, has to take nature’s purity, its moral values. Nature is a present for man from God. Man uses nature to find his spirit, truth, morality and values. With the help of nature, man can get rid of earthly devilry. Nature is the last place of destination. Man came from the nature and will go to the nature again. Nature is a server of man. It is pure and stainless. If man can reach this purity, he can find his soul. If man gets rid of the society’s destroyed values and environment and keep the nature pure, nature will serve humanity in its best way.

As mentioned above, Emerson expresses his feelings about in a reasonable way. It can be seen that Emerson used both emotion and reason in his essays, which is related to transcendentalism movement. Also, in aspect of the theme, it is obvious that Emerson focuses on the self-reliance and its relation to the nature. He deals with the nature and man in a detailed way and connects these features to each other in a sensible way. Briefly, Emerson writes how the nature serves to man, how man use the nature to live in morality and purity. ‘Walden’ is written by Henry David Thoreau and published in 1854.

This art of work is a product of a real experience and inspired by the transcendentalism movement. Not only his writing style is inspired by transcendentalism but also Thoreau applied this movement, idea in his life style and wanted to experience this idea. It can be said that transcendentalism is not only an idea for Thoreau, but it is also must be put into practice in real life and this shows his pragmatic approach. Thoreau by living in a cabin for two years near Walden Pond which is formally owned by Emerson wanted to create his own perception of society and nature.

He focused on simple ways of living and self-sufficiency. He decided to direct his life in this way when he encountered Emerson’s works. He liked the idea, movement ‘transcendentalism’ and actually practiced it. Living with no money and alone, only with nature and understanding the society by this way was his main goal. He shared his experiences in his book Walden. He did not live in a wild environment as he mentioned also in his book, he lived near the town near a lake. He pragmatically wanted to see if living in this simplicity is really good or not.

In Walden, he firstly explains his plans for this two-year life in a cabin. In this simple life, he has just food, shelter, clothes and fuel. He supplies these with the help of his friends and family. In his work, he criticizes his neighbors who dedicate their lives to working for a better living. However, he, himself, also works for building his house and growing plants. He writes everyday in this house in addition to daily routines like cleaning land, preparing and growing food. He reads many books and wishes a utopian world in which people are educated very well so the all of the people would be noble and wise.

One of the aspects Thoreau argued in his book is that transcendentalism is not only an idea and it is something also that must be lived, experienced and put into life. He explains his life in this cabin within the perspective of transcendentalism. He is delighted with the beauty of nature and his basic, simple daily routines. He is delighted with not being in a rush, not being governed by money. Nature helps him to gain a more pure, clear, moral perspective and to analyze the real life by comparing it with his simple life. As a result, he criticizes the city life and its effects on the nature.

Society and industry ruins the beauty and purity of the nature. For example, he is interrupted by the voices coming from trains, railway. Railway is a symbol of city life which is ruining the nature and its natural way. His being alone along these two years is beneficial according to Thoreau, because he thinks that his solitude made him closer to the nature. He is left to his own resources in nature and the nature is the only friend of him. He has the opportunity of analyzing the nature and his desolation in the nature makes his pastoral way of life morally upright.

Thoreau wanted to experience this because he wanted to escape from civilization and experience the purity of nature. He wanted to see whether or not he could live without luxury. However, what he did in Walden is also writing and reading a lot. Like Emerson does in Nature, Thoreau also talks about the goodness of nature, being solitude and being close to the nature. They both state that man need to live in purity to relief and reach the happiness and to be able to purified from the society.

They both criticize the bad effects of society n nature, they both represent that society and industry ruins the purity and clarity of the nature. They both criticize the materialist way of living. However, in Walden it can be seen that Thoreau tries to find a way to connect civilization and nature in a pure concept. The main difference between Emerson and Thoreau is that Thoreau is pragmatics in his belief of ‘transcendentalism’. Emerson supports this idea but does not put into action. Also, while Thoreau explains transcendentalism on the basis of his real experiences, Emerson explains it only in a theoretical way.

Therefore, while Emerson only talks about the nature’s purity and society’s devilry, Thoreau also tries to find a middle course between nature and society to some point. This can be because Thoreau is more realistic and he does critics on the basis of his own experiences. Emerson and Thoreau criticized the society and industry in the same way. They both state that it ruins the nature. They both state that desolation provides people to be closer with the nature and to analyze the nature and society.

Desolation makes people understand that they are a part of the nature and the nature gives its purity to people and people must not pollute this purity by society and industry. They both use emotion and reasoning in their writings and explain things in a sensible way. However, their style is different. While Thoreau uses a more complicated language which is full of metaphors, paradoxes, sarcasm, irony, oxymoron, Emerson uses a more simple language and Emerson becomes more understandable and ‘Nature’ becomes easier to read when compared to ‘Walden’.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

Another point that must be assessed while comparing these art works must be that while Emerson puts forth the movement transcendentalism himself, Thoreau is the one who is inspired by this transcendentalism philosophy. It can be observed that by trying to look into deeper the idea of transcendentalism, Thoreau reflects the idea in a more realistic way. This is also because of the Thoreau’s pragmatic approach to the idea. Both these works have similarities more than differences, because the writers both have the same desire, they both criticize the materialism but supports the idea ‘transcendentalism’.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Walden

Nature Ralph Walden Emerson and Henry David Thoreau Walden

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

As The World Turns Comparison And Differences Of Emerson And Thoreau

It has been said that a child always follows in the footsteps of his or her father. We can say the same about the relationship of a teacher and student. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a teacher of Henry David Thoreau, inspired his pupil with his way of thinking, and therefore their writing is similar in many ways. The writing of Emerson and Thoreau is both different and similar because they both are transcendentalists and they both talk about and usually base their stories on nature; although, Thoreau takes Emerson's ideas and applies them to his life.

Emerson is a transcendentalist and in all of his stories, he talks about how amazing nature is and that we need it in our lives: "In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature." (Pg. 221). Emerson tells the reader that he finds the wilderness and forest very soothing and relaxing. He enjoys it more than the busy streets with so many people. He feels that man can be himself in the presence of nature. Emerson shows us that nature is essential in everyone's life in order to separate him or her from his or her hectic everyday life. "But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things." (Pg. 219). Emerson, a transcendentalist, has all of his stories written about the purity and greatness of nature and being one with nature. Here, he tells us that if a person is ever given some time alone, away from the hectic day, that person would enjoy the response from nature. Looking at the stars would give him power to relax and become more spiritual.

Thoreau learned from his teacher and adapted his ways of learning, having a very similar style of writing. Thoreau also writes about how vital nature is to complete our lives and to straighten ourselves: "Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand..." (Pg. 237). A student of Emerson, Thoreau is also a transcendentalist. He also believes that people stress themselves with trying to handle too many things. With more ideas and inventions, come more complications. Nature allows us to get away from our chaotic...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Emerson And Thoreau Essay

676 words - 3 pages It is human nature to pick a role model, someone to look up to, someone whose actions or words give comfort and guidance throughout life. In most cases, both mentor and mentee have similar views and philosophies about living life. Most think that a role model has to be a famous actor or musician, but not for Henry David Thoreau, an...

Emerson and thoreau Essay

798 words - 3 pages "Dance to the beat of your own drummer:" A piece of advice that I have been told my whole life, and have tried my hardest to follow. The words were taken from Thoreau's quote, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." Ralph Waldo Emerson and

Transcendentalism in the works of Thoreau, Hawthorne and Emerson

603 words - 2 pages Transcendentalism was an expressionistic movement that occurred in the United States during the 1800's. It emphasized the importance of viewing nature through an un-material perspective where the human divinity is a fundamental value. In essence it emphasized the indefinable and the unknown. The entire objective of this movement and its members were to...

Wakefulness: Thoreau, Whitman, and Emerson

1921 words - 8 pages “To be awake means to be alive”, and to be awake during the time of Romanticism meant one could witness literature as an intellectual achievement. Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman were three authors during this time that wrote about an idea that would later become the theme of many papers, discussions and lectures, Wakefulness. Though some may not have recognized the significance of these authors’ work at the time, their...

The Relationship between Man and Nature in Emerson and Thoreau

1230 words - 5 pages The two authors Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, are similar in many ways. The first example would be their love towards the nature, and their surroundings. Another example would be their outlook towards government, although their opinion are more important than the others. And the third example, they both were non-conformists, and believed in a lay back life-style. The first reason, and people are very clear with both of the...

Comparison of MLKJ and Thoreau.

811 words - 3 pages The presence of strong moral values developed King's character, which enabled him to become one of the most influential leaders of our time. Integrity is a central value in a leader's character and it is through integrity that King had vision of the truth. The truth that one day this nation would live up to the creed, "all men are created equal". King taught this truth using tactics of non-violent resistance. He was brought up believing "one...

Man and Nature in Emerson and Thoreau

2089 words - 8 pages Nature in which people of the entire universe mostly depend upon is found as the true source of happiness in their own life. This great spectacle of the nature is what most of the people appreciate a lot. However the development taking place all over the world does not seems that people are now appreciating the creation of the mighty God. To live happily we the people have to be associated with nature as both Emerson and Thoreau believes in order...

Emerson and Thoreau represent American Identity

1495 words - 6 pages Compare and contrast the way in which Emerson and Thoreau represent American Identity. “Identity means who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group which make them different from others,” (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Third Edition). Every individual, group and country has their own identity which makes them different from others and it shows uniqueness of oneself. Reaction against the existing philosophy takes place when...

Transcendentalism in Emerson, Thoreau, and Dickinson's Literature

1126 words - 5 pages We as humans are all born with a gift, the gift of being able to think and being able to have thoughts transitioning through our minds. From the thoughts of compassion to the thoughts of heinous, we as humans all have our own interpretation of life. Transcendentalism is the idea that our souls have with nature and that our ideas go beyond the aspect of the world as we see it. During the 1800’s, Transcendentalism blossoms with the help of Ralph...

Compare and Contrast the Relationship between Man and Nature in Emerson and Thoreau

1568 words - 6 pages The relationship between man and nature is immeasurable because man and nature are interdependent on each other. Nature is everything that supports life on earth and man enjoys the beauty of nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston and he was teacher by profession and also a naturalist (Semihatopal, n.d). Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord in July 12th 1817 and he was an ecological prophet and also naturalist who was the...

compare and contrast the relationship between man and nature in Emerson and Thoreau

1280 words - 5 pages In the mid 19th century, a famous philosophical movement known as Transcendentalism came into limelight when reason and logic was the vital basis for answering any and every truth. According to Oxford University Press (2014) transcendentalism is “an idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism and German philosophy of individualism, it taught that...


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *