Compare and Contrast the Relationship Between Man and Nature in Emerson and Thoreau

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life; and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”.Here in this essay, it is divided into two parts exploring the two various extracts from Emerson and Thoreau. Both these textsexchange individual views on the relationship between Man and Naturebut I would like to focus more on the similarities than the differences of this relationship.

The opening lines “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life….” from the extract “Where I lived, and what I lived for” by Thoreau represents clearly the relationship between man and nature as it not only questions the place of dwelling (nature) and the meaning of life (philosophical) but also refers to the basic amenities of man like food and shelter. Thoreau comes back to nature to live in accordance and appreciate what it has to offer. It seems here that the purpose of life is to live and not be distracted elsewhere and later regret this sole purpose of living. This is what he was trying to seek out, but it rather seems a difficult task to experience it all in one lifetime. So, this could be seen as a trial of an idea he longed to test it out once in his lifetime.

Thoreau uses a lot of personificationin this text where life is compared to ants, pygmies and cranes as seen in this line:“Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes…”.His message here is simple, he reminds us to be content with life and live simply and that one does not need more than what is necessary. Unlike nature, man is alway...

... middle of paper ... connected together as nature shows man how to live his life in harmony and accordance with it. Emerson feels that change is needed for society to improve especially in the education system as he believes that nature affects the human mind expanding on new ideas without following the old ones already. While Thoreau on the other hand, focuses more on how nature depends on man and in order to live life they must do so with a sole purpose of living. Thus, as we read both the extracts I found there to be more similarities in the relationship between man and nature in these texts than differences.

Works Cited

• Emerson, R.W. (1907). The American Scholar. In Essays. Retrieved from

• Thoreau, H.D. (1854). Walden; or, life in the woods. Retrieved from
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