Sample Essay On Emerson And Thoreau’s Views Of Nature

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nature, People, Harmony, Law, Life, Time, Violence, Society

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/19


Around the mid of 18th century, there existed a group of particular individuals in America who were commonly referred to as transcendentalist. These people practiced simple way of lives and were mainly ‘free thinkers’ as they came up with a lot of ideas. They mainly consisted of poets, writers and preachers of the time. In order to communicate their ideas to other people, they conducted lectures and could even write essays for the people to read. These people faced opposition from other people as their ideas seemed unimaginable at the time. Among the ideas they raised were racial equality and the rights of women in the society. Emerson and Thoreau were among the major transcendentalists who focused their emphasis on the way they viewed the nature. Basically these two transcendentalists had their own ideas concerning some certain specific aspects of nature.
Thoreau and Emerson had in mind that nature is capable of forcing people to develop their own ideas rather than relying on other people’s ideas. To test transcendentalist ideas in relation to nature, Thoreau lived at Walden Pond. From his experience he was able to discover that the simplicity in any physical aspect can bring about openness of mind. This in turn would enable us to exploit our full potential by uplifting our imagination and thus bringing about changes in our lives. They felt that nature was important in imparting knowledge to people. In fact, they wondered how someone could get to know him or herself when he or she was being influenced by the environment. They knew that nature is always changing and therefore it was important to search for explanations regarding human life.
Both Emerson and Thoreau believed in harmony. For instance, Emerson had a strong believe that in order to be comfortable; one had to harmonize his life with nature. In one of his published transcendentalist philosophical essays, Emerson argued that nature and human beings was actually the same thing. Emerson had written his essay out of his experience with nature. In his ‘nature’ essay, Emerson wrote that “in the woods, we return to reason and faith”. Unlikely, Thoreau took this statement literally. However, despite the fact that both Thoreau and Emerson had a strong believe in harmony, there was a difference regarding those they were to be in harmony with. For instance, Emerson mostly lectured on transcendentalist philosophy. On the other hand, Thoreau used to practice it thoroughly. Moreover, Emerson used to believe that one should live in harmony with nature whereas Thoreau believed in living in harmony and peace with us.
Civil disobedience is one of the political tracts that were influential for Thoreau. This basically involves analyzing the relationship of an individual to a state. He wondered why some people had to obey laws without questioning whether the laws were just or were unjust to them. Moreover, Thoreau questioned why some people had to obey laws that they thought were wrong. In his ‘civil disobedience’ Thoreau was trying to fight taxpaying which in turn supported slavery. However, his relative settled the debt without his consent and was he released. It was however important to scrutinize the circumstances that led to his arrest. It is evident that Thoreau was fighting against a law that he saw was unjust. It was therefore important that instead of paying the debt, the relatives and the society at large teamed up to fight for abolishment of such laws.


Stowe, William W. "Transcendental Vacations: Thoreau And Emerson In The Wilderness." New England Quarterly 83.3 (2010): 482-507. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Apr. 2015.

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Sample Essay On Emerson And Thoreau’s Views Of Nature. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 19, 2021. Accessed September 28, 2023.

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