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Explain how Emerson uses Transcendentalist and romantic views to get his points across...

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scotthaken | Honors

Posted July 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM via web

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Explain how Emerson uses Transcendentalist and romantic views to get his points across by explaining his relationship to nature:

The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave;
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me;
I wiped away the weeds and foam,
And fethed my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left beauty on the shore
With the sun, and the sand, and the wold uproar.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 8, 2013 at 1:38 PM (Answer #1)

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One element of Transcendentalism evident in the passage is the strong relationship that Emerson has with nature.  It is evident in the way he sees nature as having constructed a path of consciousness seemingly just for him.  The idea of "greeted their safe escape to me" indicates a profound relationship between the individual and the natural world. The Transcendentalist idea of nature and its meaning is demonstrated here by depicting a condition in which one places a primacy on emotional understanding.  This is reflective of the Transcendentalist idea that subjectively emotional experiences are the best way to find truth.

The concept of "beauty on the shore" conveys the Transcendentalist ideas of meaning in nature and self- wisdom.  For Emerson, the idea of "left beauty on the shore" reflects how the natural world features meaning the individual must be able to experience.  This experience only happens when individuals are able to open their perceptions to such a reality.  In this, meaning is evident if the individual allows the expansion of their moral and intellectual imaginations to embrace it.  Out of such an idea, the Transcendentalist idea of self- wisdom emerges.  Thinkers like Emerson believed that by "tuning into the ebb and flow of nature," one gains insight and wisdom into themselves and the world around them.  In being able to recognize the meaning that is embedded in nature, this sense of wonder and wisdom is able to be appreciated in the mind of the Transcendentalist thinker that Emerson embodies.

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