Prose Passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the Prose Passage, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s attitude towards nature is very obvious. He illustrates to the reader that he not only enjoys nature, but he is charmed and connected to it. In this passage, he also explores the differences between how adults see nature and how children see nature. Finally, he reiterates his delight and connection to nature in saying, “Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both. Ralph Waldo Emerson was not only an enthusiastic writer of nature, but an enjoyer of its magnificent features as well. ” Emerson explains that there is such vastness and difference in nature that someone who visits it can’t possible ever get tired of it. He writes, “Within [the] plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. ” Its beauty is so wonderful that being bored is inconceivable to him.
To exemplify that nature evokes happiness even if a person were to be under the worst imaginable circumstances, he states, “In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. ” Of course, his enjoyment is expressed when he writes, “Crossing a bare common [park or grassy square], in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. ” The strong imagery that he portrays with the puddles and clouded sky brings the reader closer to the image of nature that Emerson saw.
Emerson elucidates to the fact that adults and children have very different views of the sun even though it is the same for both. He writes, “Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. ” Emerson gives the reader the understanding that their connection with nature is lost on their road to adulthood. However, children admire and enjoy the sun, seeing it in a different light than that with which adults see it.
This is demonstrated when he says, “The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. ” On the whole, Emerson’s love of nature is overwhelmingly exposed in this passage. In the end, he underscores the unbroken connection between humankind and nature by writing, “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse [communication] with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food. ”