Connecting with Nature in Rip Van Winkle, Thanatopsis, and Walden
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Romanticism is the involvement of emotion, fantasy, and intuition in a story. It happens to be the opposite of rationalism which involves logic, reason, and rationality in a story. There happens to be five romantic elements to choose from. They include: dissatisfaction with city life, desire to connect with nature, concern of individualism, nostalgia for the past, and supernatural interest. Of the six stories we could choose from all of them have some part of romanticism in them in one way or another. I chose to express a desire to connect with nature in “Rip Van Winkle”, “Thanatopsis”, and Walden.
Rip Van Winkle desires to leave his nagging wife, driving him into the woods revealing a gorgeous, woodland landscape and a desire to connect with nature. In the first paragraph of the story a connection to nature is already made when referring to the mountains. “When the weather is fair and settled they are clothed in blue and purple, print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.” (155) This expresses that purity of the natural landscape. The writer could have just mentioned mountains, but instead he made them this sentiment of beauty. While he is walking into the woods he depicts this green knoll covered in herbs that overlooks the lower country and rich woodland. He even expresses his view of the Hudson River. “He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far, below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark here and there sleeping...
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...g the tree. “In one heavy thundershower the lighting stuck a large pitch pine across the pond, making a very conspicuous and perfectly regular spiral groove from top to bottom, an inch or more deep, and four or five inches wide…” (239) It gives nature this supernatural, odd appeal. The image of lightning just seems to dance through the memory and connect with the reader. The expressions Thoreau’s favorite features of nature make this story have a desire to connect with nature.
In conclusion, “Rip Van Winkle,” “Thanatopsis,” and Walden all connect with nature, buy they all connect in their own ways. “Rip Van Winkle” bases the connection with nature behind a whimsical story and descriptive details. “Thanatopsis” uses its deeper meaning and meld of human and nature to connect with nature, and Walden uses Thoreau’s thoughts and descriptions to connect with nature.