Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The book Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson was published in 1836, and the key elements that built the book were applicable in ensuring that the individuals in New England were informed on transcendentalism. This type of movement was associated with the diverse phenomenon that was a representation of addressing numerous voices, which were concerned with the agitation of paramount concern of building the ideology of civilization. The entire concept of the book gives a clear indication of the diversity that is seen to be hazardous in the central movement of New England during the civil war. The book also provides a pivotal understanding in the provocative expression of the principles governing the philosophical effects of the transcendentalist. This was governed by the principles of religion, political, social and literary understanding of the events happening in the world. It also played a significant part in initiating the ideology of the manifestos of the transcendentalism.

The individual statements of Emerson and the manner, in which he understood the things that were happening around him, perpetrate the philosophies given in the book. However, this was his first book, and it has been seen to meet the expected standards of a philosophical writer and leadership. The reflection endured by some of the words in the book gives an intellectual assiduous and questions as set of complex accommodation of the conflicts found in the philosophical world. These are the type of works that are still found in the world in the determination of the nature of things and the intentions of many writers (Emerson, 57). Emerson’s intention was to ensure that philosophers have ways in which they would take care of the conflicts they were experiencing. His book on nature also indicates the perception of individuals when they refer to achievement and success of people. Moreover, the book deals with the manner of dealing with challenges as they occur. One might think that this is only applicable at that period, in which the book was written. However, the issues that are being tackled in the book also interfere with the lives of individuals at present. This is not applicable in the developed world only, but to the third world nations, as well. The issue Emerson puts across has also been witnessed in German and English literatures. The concept of transcendentalism is an essential aspect in the development of numerous nations and living standards of individuals. The interpretation of the book is also applicable in the integration of the international Romanticism. The conflicts being determined by the book are the representation of science in comparison to the things, in which other people believe such as the supernatural being.


The first interaction with nature is the way Emerson uses the word solitude to justify his position towards his philosophy. In his way of interpreting the words solitude and nature, he gives the feeling that people usually have when they are alone as this is the only time that they can figure out the things that are happening around them. An individual might make shapes and beliefs about stars and the things happening in the sky as they can be creative about the things they are trying to comprehend. For instance, an individual that is heartbroken might stay alone in the open space, and he will be able to decide the next course of action. This also applies to people who are kept in the prison cell when they are made to be in a solitary confinement for several hours, and this is used as a punishment.

The book also continues to imply that it is only the supernatural being which can explain the things happening around the world. In this case, the supernatural being that Emerson is talking about is God. As he writes,

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If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! (Emerson, 42).

This shows that there is no way things can just happen without being controlled. This is also applicable to his belief in wisdom, simplicity and happiness. One will always believe that he is at peace or happy whenever one believes in the supernatural being. The religious individuals would feel comfortable even in times of problems since they believe their creator will rescue them.

In the book, Emerson continues to give the importance of the link that should be between nature and human beings. The author implies that it was crucial for him to connect himself with the heavens, and he had made this his routine. However, it was also pivotal to him to realize that he had to have a connection with the things happening around him as this would make him understand the happenings. This means that no matter how religious individuals might be, it is essential for them to understand the things happening around them. This implies that one should allow his spiritual nature to interact with God, as well as the things on the Earth. He also contents that people should moderate the manner, in which they connect with nature as it is unpredictable, and one might not know the things, which might happen in his life.


This is the second chapter of the book, which implies that the world or nature would not have been complete without human beings being part of it. Emerson writes,

All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man. (Emerson, 67)

This means that the two elements are essential to each other. The nature needs the human beings in order to develop while, at the same time, the human beings need nature. The two cannot be separated as the things they do will interfere with each other’s livelihood, positively or negatively. It is believed that if any of the two behaves negatively towards the other, calamities will take place. For instance, the human beings have been seen to interfere with nature by cutting down trees without planting the new ones. This is a cruel act in accordance with the nature, and the consequences have been felt in these regions such as drought. According to Emerson, nature is like a living thing and will always react to the manner in which it is treated. If it were treated with cruelty, it would retaliate with cruelty. Therefore, the actions of the human beings towards nature would always resonate with their lifestyle. This means that Emerson’s explanation of the nature treating human beings can be taken as a retaliatory action or a complementary action.


The book explains the beauty as being apparent in three forms. The first aspect is based on the feeling of pleasure arising from perceiving the natural form. This means that one will be rendered to be beautiful if there are no modifications involved. There are numerous occasions that things have gone bad in the quest of trying to modify things to be different from the way they were found originally. The second aspect of beauty pertains to the relief feeling of a human-being. It is explained vividly that something that is beautiful will always make a human being to be at ease. Things that are not pleasing to the eye will be assumed dangerous, and people around it will not be feeling themselves comfortable.

The final aspect is based on the “the mark God sets upon virtue” as explained by Emerson. He explains that virtue and beauty should always go together. This also plays a massive part in explaining the intellectual nature of God. Emerson shows that nobody can explain the representation behind beauty and how it came about to exist. He explains, “The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity” (Emerson, 89).

This means that there is nothing that can explain the elements found in goodness and beauty as they are the same thing. Moreover, there is nothing that can be used in the position higher than beauty as it is the final highest rank.


The accomplishment of language is introduced in the book as the elements, which can be used in explaining the nature of human beings. It is essential for individuals to have a language, which defines them as a way of natural facts. There are places when one talks of right; it will be referred to as straight, and the word wrong will imply twisted condition. This means, there is no universal explanation and symbolism of man as everybody is unique in his own way.


Everything that happens around an individual should be taken into account and used as an educational tool, which will be referred to in the future. This means that discipline is an action that is used to define an action that had already taken place, and it should be condemned or emulated by other individuals. People are usually driven by the principles they have set to govern themselves. All the occupations of human beings are made to have policies, which would make them be rendered useful to them. These are the laws set to be endured by everybody entitled to the occupation. Therefore, people are stated to follow all the requirements to be rendered by the discipline. The moral values and laws are usually determined by nature. These principles of nature can be relevant in the form of inertia or resistance. Through the analysis of this chapter, one will realize that Emerson had his own way of judging the issues taking place around him in terms of discipline. He explains,

Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed . (Emerson, 94)

This means that there is no goodness that can come from individuals who are always thinking of perpetrating bad things to others. Another person, not necessarily the victim, will apply the same thought.


This chapter is seen to be an irony to the things that the author had expressed in the early chapters. He takes the Christian perception of nature and opposes it, terming it as vague. He takes a look at the chapters of the bible that talks of nature. The book of genesis is scrutinized and said to have a different impression of nature from what it is supposed to be. According to the Bible, human being was cursed, and this applies to nature. Emerson explains that nature is a beautiful thing that is not cursed, and there is nobody powerful enough to curse nature. This is a contradiction as he had already implied that there is a supernatural being that controls the events taking place in the world, including nature. Man is supposed to give service to nature, and nature will do the same, in its turn.


It is necessary for one to accept that there is a supernatural power that controls the things happening in the world. This is an expression that is supposed to be used in the explanation of conscious beliefs and the reasoning that the human beings will always have towards things. This implies that there is a spiritual being in life that controls the daily interactions of the human beings. The humans should also be in a position of interacting with their spiritual being as it would help them in thinking positively or negatively.


This is the final chapter of the book, where Emerson looks at the driving force towards his goals. Human beings are expected to be in a position of understanding that life they are living should not be stagnant, and people are expected to progress. This would mean that individuals are expected to plan for their future and the things they expect to achieve in the coming years. Those people, who do not have goals and plans for the future, are rendered not to be focused as they do not understand the essential elements of living.


The observations made by Emerson in the book pertain to the conflicts that human beings usually face. This analysis is essential in understanding that these philosophical conflicts can be overpowered as long as an individual believes in something. The analysis also proves that there are some greater issues, which are more advanced than science. These can only be explained through a spiritual perception and belief in God.

Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph W, and David Mikics. The Annotated Emerson. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012. Print.

Emerson, Ralph W. Nature. Hoboken, N.J: BiblioBytes, 1990. Web.

Emerson, Ralph W. Nature: Addresses, and Lectures. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co, 1883. Print.

Emerson, Ralph W. The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Tudor Pub. Co, 1930. Print.

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