Nature is a literary essay composed by Ralph Waldo Emerson and published by James Munroe and Company in 1836. In this essay, he portrays nature as a subjective phenomenon rather than something objective that could be experienced or felt. His essay gave insights to many poets and scholars towards a new spiritual concept yet it also gained a lot of criticism in the era it got published as his essay depicted his belief in the coalescence of humans, nature, and the Divine beings. He argued that humans are so inattentive in their daily chores that they do not appreciate what nature has to offer. Although Nature is a concise and strong depiction of romance world yet it challenges the common beliefs of humans and directs them to an uncustomary understanding of the natural world.
Emerson considers nature as an individualized phenomenon as its true essence could only be felt by humans who do not look at the natural largesse through their eyes. These generosities of nature exist only through human observations and surveillance, as he writes that “humans and the wind are one”. Humans who still process the “eye and the heart of the child,” the one who has preserved or “has retained the spirit of infancy” (Literary Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson | Literary Theory and Criticism, n.d.) can appreciate the true value of nature’s existence. Emerson communicates three major incorporeal problems related to spirituality and nature faced by humans in his essay, as he states “What is matter? Whence is it? And Where to?” (“Nature (Essay),” 2020). The answer to the first question is that nature does not matter but is something that is endured by humans whereas Emerson tackles the answer to the other two questions by saying that nature exists because humans believe in it and perceives it as such it is.
Nature’s beauty is intuitive to every individual by the way he sees and perceives things around him. Every man on this planet utilizes nature in his own unique way (Major Themes, n.d.). One of many usages that nature provides to humans is Language. According to Emerson, the words we use in our daily lives are borrowed by nature and the beauty that we observe. it is not words only that are emblematic; it is things that are emblematic. He says in his essay, “Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual facts. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind.” (Literary Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson | Literary Theory and Criticism, n.d.). If a human being is intelligent enough and has a high observance power, he would definitely ponder upon these lines. He would correlate nature with the non-secular phenomena of the world such as the existence of light and dark, dawn and dusk, awareness and incomprehension, right and wrong, etc. Everything that exists in the human mind is the alleged translation of some natural circumstance around him.
Nature interlinks itself with human thinking and actions. Nevertheless, nature would cease to exist if human thinking would stop analyzing the marvelous Mother Earth around him. Emerson believes that the historical people used to have a profound and instantaneous connection with God and nature. Whatever they observed, believed, and sowed, they had it right there beside them. He believed that humans and nature are interconnected with each other and he foregrounds the analogy of humans and nature’s existence in the universe. Man has the ability to espy the unfathomable beauty of the natural world around him as he sees it with his transparent eye of aspiration.
Literary Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson | Literary Theory and Criticism. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://literariness.org/2017/11/30/literary-criticism-of-ralph-waldo-emerson/
Major Themes. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/t/thoreau-emerson-and-transcendentalism/emersons-nature/major-themes
Nature (essay). (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nature_(essay)&oldid=968087054