Compare and contrast Emerson's "Nature" essay with his "Self-Reliance" essay. How do they both represent Emerson's style and message, yet differ? Please cite specific lines/passages when possible.
Both essays show Emerson at his most idiosyncratic. These are beautiful essays that make amazing assertions and whose arguments are, in part, exercises in self-justification. In “Self Reliance,” Emerson argues that “nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind,” a position that (presumably) he himself is exemplifying. He claims that the work of the artist or poet is to articulate, as best he can, “what is true for you in your private heart.”
In “Nature ,” he proposes, perhaps as an alternate absolute, the omnipresence and beauty of nature. Nature (a term Emerson uses to mean, roughly speaking, existence) underlies all experience. It is the presence of Nature that, for Emerson, is the source of the urge to express oneself, and the convictions he praises in “Self Reliance” are just expressions of this relationship with Nature. He says, “A man can only speak, so long as he does not feel his speech to be partial and inadequate. It is partial, but he does not see it to be so, whilst he utters it.” This “partiality” is tied to the “disappointment” Emerson says is “felt in every...
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