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Nature always wears the colors of the spirit, wrote Emerson to explain how our energy and disposition is illuminated and cast beyond us into Nature, affecting all the beauty and truth in that specific person’s perspective/’spirit’, for that emotional state. Emerson’s essay on Nature is not only an essay that will produce and address questions that resonate deep within us and illustrate inspirational and complex ideas in one-two concise lines. His essay will also serve the purpose of providing a backdrop and different lens, through which we can analyze and further understand Emily Dickinson’s poems”that involve her connectedness with nature interspersed with a dab of death.
With her uncanny ability to take simple objects or natural elements we take for granted and make them grander and more abstract then nature already is, is extremely similar to Emerson’s feelings regarding the relationship between man and nature. I feel nature as a physical force in two of her poems, There’s a certain Slant of light’ and I died for Beauty”but was scarce’.
Emerson’s essay has significant statements, to describe the harmony between nature and its effect on oneself; whether in happiness or sorrow, or in life or death. In Dickinson’s poem, There’s a certain Slant of light, it is obvious that we are speaking of shaft of light, probably the sun (or in this case God) through a cloud or window, just from the word Slant alone.
Her ability to pack so much meaning and feeling into so few words in such a short amount of space boggles the mind, yet probably wouldn’t even touch the mind of the non-romantic. As Emerson says, the universe is the property of every individual in it. Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate. As humans ourselves we choose what we want from nature and what we do not, yet many do not think similar to great minds like Emerson, so it is almost unobtainable to be perfectly in balance with both ourselves and nature. That is like being dead and alive at the same time.
Emerson seems to take the sun as one of many signs he associates as a representation of God”which we are told about many times. Dickinson uses the ideology of God but leaves more to the imagination; hence poetry versus an essay. Whether it is 50 words or 25 pages, the similar ideal both poetic romantics want you to leave with is a new way to look at life, nature, and most importantly the harmony between all, even in life and death. To be actually in sync with yourself, and therefore nature is only accessible to those whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other is. It is all in how one understands nature; what beauty can be seen from their naked eye; what the meaning of truth is. Although I do not share Emerson’s beliefs I look beyond the written word of God, as he would probably hope his reader would. Although both he and Dickinson are preaching in a way, they leave much for the reader to decipher and make their own’. Concentrating on the parts of her poem that begin to make the reader realize it is not a happy story about the sun, is quickly set by the word oppressive and the things she finds to be the cause of this feeling. Winter afternoons and the heavy oppressive weight of the cathedral tunes.
This continues down the line of thought of how the slant of sunlight, although it is aimed from the heavens, is also from nature, which perhaps is what leaves the internal difference, where no scar could possibly exist”the feeling of being pulled in two different directions by one’s own mind. She seems to be struggling with her own natural harmony as to what is divine and what is nature, but seems to have the alluded to question in all her poetry: was nature created by the divine? This seems to be her reoccurring theme throughout her poetry. As the sun, or heavenly light begins to move we know it is setting because shadows appear, as darkness descends leaving us with our melancholy thoughts and obviously Dickinson chooses to run right to death at the hint of darkness. The color motifs are especially important in both this poem by Dickinson, and a comment that the nature will reflect your mood is in my opinion true. That still begs the question, if we control our own selves or if nature takes over if one is in a good mood and it starts raining, they will laugh, if they are in a bad mood, they will get angry over some raindrops.
Emerson writes that few adult persons can see nature yet I believe Emily Dickinson is one of them. The reason most cannot is mainly a result of our inability to remain a child forever; we lose our innocence and our ability to find happiness over simple things. As we mature whatever outer stimuli, we face will affect us mentally, and distance us from our true selves”ourselves with nature”leaving no visible scars. The symbolism of the shaft of sun in this poem can also symbolize our lost innocence, The sun illuminates only the eye of the man but shines into the eye and heart of the child; unless his inward and outward senses are truly adjusted, like being a child when we had less knowledge and more innocence. Dickinson’s poem, I died for Beauty”but was scarce’, is the most unsettling poem I’ve felt regarding natural yet romanticized , one doesn’t think about it, or tries not to: death. Here she includes the romantic ideals of beauty and truth, and how they are really one.
Originally, I could not understand how beauty and truth could be similar and furthermore, fail at their natural given tasks. Despair is what results from winter afternoons becoming shorter, shrouding the world in darkness”the binaries of light and dark, good and bad. It’s possible she is giving the ideological categories of beauty and truth human forms to make them more relatable or promote empathy for the failure of two beautiful ideas, no matter the form”they can and did die, yet still speak beyond death unafraid it seems; simply more upset that they each failed or died, for a certain romantic ideal. The fact that they are unafraid shows that perhaps Dickinson is now religiously involved again since she shows no fear of the possibility of no afterlife. Both corpses’ felt a certain kinship with one another as they accepted their fates with no fuss or hysterical theatrics, but by learning more about one another and therefore learning more about themselves; each a piece to a puzzle of perfect harmony, both internally, externally, and naturally. We talked between the rooms”Until the Moss had reached our lips”And covered up”our names” Mother Nature slowly begins to creep up the bodies of Beauty and Truth, to bring them back to the earth, perhaps to an afterlife that is not God, but some universal spirit. For Mother Nature to cover their names, and for this line to be placed in such an important spot, shows that after death, after your family has outlived you, and the moss has made it over your tombstone, you become nameless, anonymous, and one with nature at last.
Through the lens of Emerson’s essay, he states that, Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece, and I feel most who love nature would see it similarly as did Dickinson”making all poems a sort of mourning piece. It also seems to be agreed upon by these two poems where Dickinson weaves death with nature. She seems to prefer it, looking at the latter poem, I died for Beauty”but was scarce’. With Dickinson’s obsession with death, that is what her landscape around her will reflect. If nature wears the color of the spirit of Emily Dickinson’s world, it would look dark, perhaps hopeless. There is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over… I find that death is a major reoccurring theme in most literature from the early to late 1800’s. To tie together how the landscape reflects the spirit, in death.
In conclusion, although Emily Dickinson’s poetry has many foci, they are all based on romantic ideals; the most romantic of all being truth, beauty, and death and how they parallel with nature as whole. Emerson’s Nature essay serves the purpose of providing a unique perspective, through which we can analyze and further understand Emily Dickinson’s poems.
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