Emerson Vs Whitman

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Emerson and Whitman use a patriotic context to assert in their respective prose and poem that nature is a powerful, restorative and consolatory force. To study or immerse oneself in nature is to gain a deeper understanding of the ‘self’ or soul allowing the pursuit of a deeper spiritual truth. Both Emerson and Whitman agree that the ‘truth’ is the creative, original expression of art. In ‘American Scholar’, Emerson calls for a renaissance of American thought imploring his audience to break away from ‘dependency’ to seek a greater spiritual truth. He suggests that through the intellectual individualism of the American Scholar. Emerson presents an idealised image of ‘One Man’ who is ‘all’, an allegory intending to instruct mankind. The American …show more content…

Perhaps the most important image in the poem is the lilac flower. It is a symbol for the endurance and vitality of the human spirit. Again echoing Emerson in the suggestion that the two are inherently entwined. He describes it as ‘blooming perennially’ like Emerson suggesting a natural immortal force. The lilac stands ‘tall-growing’ with ‘heart shaped leaves of rich green’ again showing the rich vitality and fertility of the natural symbol. Interestingly he adds that the ‘blossoms rise delicate’ mirroring Emerson’s notion of ‘[undulation]’ that life, nature and the soul are simultaneously powerful and delicate, two essential contraries. The ‘sprig of lilac’ also allows the narrator to overcome his grief and suffering by the consolatory action of placing it on Lincoln’s ‘coffin’ as it passes. This natural symbol bestows dignity and respect on the human ‘delicacy’ of death whilst simultaneously allowing Whitman to understand death as an essential factor of life, which should not be feared. The star acts as a similar symbol, naturally charged with love and power. It again instructs on the nature of life and death as the narrator, who at the beginning grieves for it ‘drooping’ and finally resolves to see it ever present among the ‘fragrant pines and cedars dusk and dim’. The image of the star in it cyclical journey drooping in the ‘west’ to rise again in the east not only speaks of the readers reconciliation with Lincoln’s death but in a broad context, similar to Emerson’s notion of ‘inexplicable

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