Comparing Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

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The Transcendent Notions Within Romantic Literature Romantic notions regarding the virtue found in youth and solitude, and God’s transcending existence in nature are prevalent in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Through similar, romantic perspectives, Emerson and Thoreau describe the spiritual growth they experience within nature. The idea that God exists in every aspect of nature is constantly voiced in both chapters, and both men explain how they achieve enlightenment. The ways in which both Emerson and Thoreau regard youth relate to the romantic notion that humans are born innocent, but are corrupted over time by social conventions and thus become less virtuous. Emerson likens the “lover of nature” to a child, who is able to see the divine in all aspects of nature. He believes that “In the woods, is perpetual youth… in these woods, we return to reason and faith,” (Emerson 8). In this passage, Emerson very plainly relates childhood with the ability to find the divine…show more content…
When describing a tree that had been struck by lighting, Thoreau remarks that he was, “struck with awe on looking up and beholding that mark, now more distinct than ever, where a terrific and resistless bolt came down out of the harmless sky,” (Thoreau 90). In contrast to Thoreau, Emerson finds the sublime in a mundane place, yet is as struck with awe as Thoreau is when he sees the tree. “Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear,” (Emerson 8). Although Emerson can’t even see the stunning stars that he remarks on earlier in the chapter, he is still happy to be able to see the divine in this ordinary

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