Nature in Ralph Waldo Emerson's Works

The attitude of the narrator in the prose passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson towards nature is that of pure admiration. He is very found of nature and appreciates its ethereal beauty. Emerson makes use of the literary devices of metaphor, symbolism and personification to help readers understand this admiration.

One example of a metaphor Emerson uses is when he states that “nature never wears a mean appearance” (Emerson). This line is an oxymoron. Since nature is, in fact, violent, and ruthless.

With natural disasters that have no regard for the Earth’s many inhabitants. After a storm when everything settles there is a re-birth. All of the plants and animals come back with exuberance to start over. This may really appeal to the audience because most have witnessed the destructive power of nature, but have been able to come back stronger and with a new lease on life.

The sun envelops everything in a warm blanket of rays, healing everything it touches.

The sun is a powerful star and man fails to see its sheer beauty. Children see the sun for what it does to, spark imagination and hope. The next example of Emerson’s effective use of metaphor is when Emerson mentions “most persons do not see the sun” (Emerson). This line is trying to exemplify how clarity of vision can be blurred in adults. As people age, they fail to credit the sun for its willingness to provide growth. This metaphor might evoke childhood memories of the audience and bring them back to a simpler time.

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One use of the literary device symbolism in the prose passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson is when he states “His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food” (Emerson). This symbolizes how nurturing and fulfilling one’s relationship with nature can be. The significance with this line is that believing in something whatever that may be can provide someone with something that becomes so integral to their daily routine, like that of food. Another metaphor that Emerson uses to convey his relationship with nature would be when he describes himself as being a transparent eyeball; being able to see everything. There is no filter with what he is seeing. The narrator portrays himself as a divine being that has the energy of the Earth running through his veins, harnessing all of the power of the universe.

The last metaphor that illustrates Emerson’s love for nature is “nature is not always tricked into holiday attire” (Emerson). This highlights how unpredictable the weather is, but reminds readers through the use of personification that “nature always wears the colors of the spirit” (Emerson). This is similar to the sentiment many people feel around Christmas time when many people expect snow. Nature does not always oblige, but someone could feel the air getting crisper as the Earth prepare for a blanket of snow.

Through Emerson’s clever use of literary devices, he has been able to show that he has a deep spiritual connection with nature and believes it should not be overlooked or taken for granted, because nature cultivates all life on Earth and it can survive on its own, but man cannot survive without nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson believes that nothing can match an individual’s relationship with nature. Therefore if one is alone he can turn to the stars and will no longer rest in solitude. For they are in the company of billions that line the sky, providing an embrace of flickering pearls that harness unmatchable wisdom and knowledge.

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Nature in Ralph Waldo Emerson's Works. (2021, Apr 16). Retrieved from

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