Ralph Emerson And Walt Whitman

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Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman are two of the most iconic American poets of the 19th century. Emerson and Whitman were both revolutionaries in American poetry, in their own time and their own right. When Emerson released his piece “The Poet,” a writing that challenged all of the American poets to become, as he put it, the next “Great American Poet,” which would address all of “the facts of the animal economy, sex, nutriment, gestation, birth.” Of all the poets that read Emerson’s piece, Whitman was the one who decided to “put the living, breathing, sexual body at the center of much of his poetry, challenging conventions of the day” (“Walt Whitman”, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Baym, Nina, pg. 1005). Emerson and Whitman tried to create writings, speakers, and characters who defined the role of the writer to teach their readers about what being a writer represented. Both authors had their own approach to this challenge, offering up timeless literature that would inspire writers for generations. They believed that the writer was the representative of what society needs, but not necessarily what it wants. The writer was meant to let the people of society know what was going on around them and represent what was truly important to keep society running. To define the role of the writer, Emerson and Whitman used nature, sex, and the social interaction of the world around them at the time. Emerson believed that a true writer would not only love nature, but understand it and immerse himself in it. The writer needed to be in nature to be inspired and to write what was important. Throughout his writing The Poet, Emerson makes various references to nature and how it effects the true writer and his role in society. He s... ... middle of paper ... ...nd themselves. The writer is a teacher of society and voice for the voiceless. Both writers have similarities and differences in their way of explaining the role of the writer, whether it be through nature, sex, or society. But both understand that the writer is the reporter of the world. The writer must observe everything around him and make everyone understand the significance of it all. And while they may not see eye to eye about how to go about explaining what defines the role of the writer, they both have done it in their own way and because of it, have become immortalized by the reader and idolized by the writer. Their words have not only taught us all what it means to be a writer, but what a writer is. He is an interpreter of nature. An inspirer of love. A challenger of the status quo. A teacher of society. A representative for the voiceless. And so much more.
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