In Experience, Ralph Waldo Emerson writes about the human condition shared by all in his uniquely “Emersonian” perspective. Perhaps one of his most effective works is Experience, an essay on a subject of which Emerson had much “experience” and personal grief. To fully appreciate Emerson, the reader must closely analyze his writing, with both its obvious meaning, and the experience with which he’s writing.
One particular paragraph is especially eloquent, and warrants closer analysis: “People grieve and bemoan themselves, but it is not half so bad with them as they say. There are moods in which we court suffering, in the hope that here, at least, we shall find reality, sharp peaks and edges of truth”. Emerson’s training as a clergyman shines through here, as he counsels the grief-stricken that things are not as bad as they seem. People who are aggrieved often hope to find some truth at the end of their suffering to make it seem somehow worthwhile. “But it turns out to be scene-painting and counterfeit. The only thing grief has taught me, is to know how shallow it is. That, like all the rest, plays about the surface, and never introduces me into the reality, for contact with which, we would even pay the costly price of sons and lovers”. Emerson’s preliminary sentences were only meant to scratch the surface -- now he is probing the heart of the matter. He is stating that there is no deep meaning revealed when we lose someone we love. It is more of a defense mechanism or a means of self-assurance than anything else, because losing the people closest to us defies any tangible meaning.
In the next passage, “Was it Boscovich who found out that bodies never come in contact? Well, s...
... middle of paper ...
...cosmic connection for man, animals, plants. Emerson seems to suggest that grief is merely an escape into self-pity, a way of denying death or what it represents. For Emerson, life was nothing without faith in nature. In nature, nothing can live unless something dies. It is all part of the eternal cycle of life.
Experience taught Ralph Waldo Emerson that wallowing in grief provides neither comfort nor closure. It does not answer any questions and does not change anything. However, faith in nature can offer solace during life’s darkest moments. It is a human ‘experience’ which he, fortunately, shared with us all.
O’Keefe, Richard R. “‘Experience’: Emerson on Death.” ATQ (The American Transcendental Quarterly), v9 n2, p. 119 (11). (June 1995).
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Raven: A Close Reading The entire poem including the first stanza, as scanned here, is octametre with mostly trochaic feet and some iams. The use of a longer line enables the poem to be more of a narration of the evening's events. Also, it enables Poe to use internal rhymes as shown in bold. The internal rhyme occurs in the first and third lines of each stanza. As one reads the poem you begin to expect the next rhyme pushing you along. The external rhyme of the "or" sound in Lenore and nevermore at then end of each stanza imitates the haunting nature of the narrator's thoughts.... [tags: Edgar Allen Poe]
1408 words (4 pages)
- The true meaning of life based on experiences… What is it. This is a question which many people dedicate their lives into answering. Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the few who has succeeded in answering this question. He weaved his answer into a long and tedious essay, which is called “Experience”. The only downfall from this work is that it’s solely from his perspective, and doesn’t include other people’s ideas as well as his. Emerson believes that people don’t possess the individualistic quality.... [tags: essays research papers]
396 words (1.1 pages)
- A Close Reading of Ragged Dick There were no houses of good appearance near it, buildings being limited mainly to rude temporary huts used by workmen who were employed in improving it. The time will undoubtedly come when the Park will be surrounded by elegant residences, and compare favorably in this respect with the most attractive city in the world. But at the time when Frank and Dick visited it, not much could be said in favor of either the Park or its neighborhood. "If this is Central Park," said Frank, who naturally felt disappointed, "I don't think much of it.... [tags: Ragged Dick Essays]
424 words (1.2 pages)
- A Close Reading of Medea Medea's first public statement, a sort of "protest speech," is one of the best parts of the play and demonstrates a complex, at times even contradictory, representation of gender. Medea's calm and reasoning tone, especially after her following out bursts of despair and hatred, provides the first display of her ability to gather herself together in the middle of crisis and pursue her hidden agenda with a great determination. This split in her personality is to a certain degree gender bias.... [tags: Euripides Medea Essays]
650 words (1.9 pages)
- Nowadays, many people think reading is not necessary, since there are so many sources of information and types of entertainment, such as TV, cinema and the Internet. I believe they are wrong because reading is very beneficial in many ways. Good reading skills are very important in learning languages. Reading improves spelling because as students learn to sound out letters and words, spelling comes easier. It helps to expand the vocabulary, since the best way to acquire a large vocabulary is to read.... [tags: Importance of Reading]
994 words (2.8 pages)
- My relationship with books and reading has not been the greatest adventure for me thus far. I will not say that all my experience has been terrible but for the most part not that great. I know for me it started when I was little and unfortunately it has carried to my adulthood. As young girl I growing up I do not remember my parents or brother reading just for the enjoyment. The only parent I would ever see reading anything was my father and usually that would be the bible because he would have a lesson to teach at church.... [tags: Importance of Reading]
906 words (2.6 pages)
- Inner Work Life, written by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, explains how employees’ reactions and feelings towards events affect their job performance. The authors define inner work life as the way that perceptions, emotions and motivation combine in an employee’s life. When an event occurs, all employees will feel a certain way (positively or negatively) about what has transpired, and this will influence how they react and what they expect. Inner work life is not easily detected by managers, and often times not examined by the actual employee.... [tags: Reading Response]
1081 words (3.1 pages)
- What is reading. At a very tender age, when I first learned to read words, I was excited because I was now a reader but was I really reading or just lifting words off paper. Even though this is necessary for reading, reading is more complex than just recognizing words. The reader has to make sense of the words base and their context. While engaged in reading, the prior knowledge is activated along with personal connection, ideas, and opinions. Unfortunately, children will develop reading problems if they do get the necessary stills that will allow them to function on a higher level and succeed in life.... [tags: Word Recognition, Reading Comprehension]
666 words (1.9 pages)
- Every so often throughout history, great doers and thinkers come along that break the mold and set new standards. People like Caesar, Shakespeare, Napoleon and Jesus have been studied and immortalized in volumes of texts. Then there are others who are not as well known. People like Ralph Waldo Emerson. From his life, writings, associates, beliefs and philosophy, this Concord, Massachusetts man has set his place as a hero in American literature and philosophy (Bloom 13). The first, most important thing to mention about Ralph Waldo Emerson is that he was not a Transcendentalist philosopher (Bloom 1).... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1994 words (5.7 pages)
- "Examine pages 100 to 115 of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel "The Remains of the day" in detail. Show by a close reading of key scenes within this how the novelist's language and form both reveals, and conceals, central issues of character, emotion, politics and memory." Pages100-115 of Ishiguro's novel describe the beginning of a journey to the west country taken by a man called Stevens, (a model English butler). Stevens narrates the novel and Ishiguro writes in such a way that the reader is able to examine intersections of his memory, national history, politics of the era, and the way language is used to express emotion or to conceal it.... [tags: The Remains of the Day Essays]
1349 words (3.9 pages)