Last Updated 05 Jan 2023

The Use of Figurative Language in the Prose Passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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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. Emerson expresses how nature correlates to our lives and yet how completely complex it still is. In this passage, he also explores the differences between how adults see nature and how children see nature. To further explain to the audience what his views on nature are, Ralph Waldo Emerson uses a significant amount of figurative language as well as comparing and contrasting Nature to convey his certain attitude about it. Within using all of them, Emerson uses a lot of the figurative language to correlate to comparing Nature with different themes.

The abundance of figurative language in any specific piece of writing, including the Prose Passage, signifies that Emerson is trying to convey a message more than what is merely literal. Throughout the entirety of the passage the most common theme of figurative language is personification. Personification is to give something, anything, human like qualities. In this very passage, the idea/item which is most personified would be Nature For example, " Nature wears a mean appearance......Nature never became a toy....Nature says". As a transcendentalist, Emerson values Nature and would believe that it correlates directly with humans. Another example of personification is "all natural objects make a similar impression when the mind is open to their influence." Natural objects can not directly and literally influence a human. Another example of figurative language is "a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough [dead skin]" This would be a simile, a literary device comparing to otherwise opposite items with like or as. An example if imagery in this passage would be " in snow puddle, at twilight, under a clouded sky." This is providing a scene to picture as the passage unfolds. The figurative language shows that Emerson believes and has an attitude towards nature as more in depth than non-transcendentalists would perceive.

As Emerson uses figurative language, a significant amount of that can be correlated to comparing and contrasting an idea. In fact, all of the comparison and contrasts are within the figurative language Emerson compares the stars to all natural objects when it is stated, "The stars awaken a certain reverence........but all natural objects make a kindred [similar] impression." Emerson also uses a simile as a piece of figurative language and comparison when stating, "a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough [dead skin]". Further more, he compares himself to a transparent eyeball in the sense that " I am nothing" [transparent] "I see all" [the eyeball]. He, Emerson, contrast much of the passage in a way by stating, "at twilight, under a clouded sky" and finishing with " special good fortune." These ideas being so completely different that they contrast each other. He goes on then to speak of his friends which he considers to "be brothers, to be a acquaintances." Within speaking of such friends he mentions trifle and disturbance with completely contrast to the universal idea of friends. These contrasts and comparisons propose the idea that Emerson also believes Nature is directly correlated to humans and our lives and are easily explained as well as still being very complex. [Hence the contrast]

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Specific use of figurative language and comparison and contrast can reveal to the audience what deeper meaning the author is trying to convey through words. Through the Prose Passage, it can be there is more to Emerson's attitude towards Nature. The figurative language shows that Emerson believes and has an attitude towards nature as more in depth than non-

transcendentalists would perceive. Contrasts and comparisons propose the idea that Emerson also believes Nature is directly correlated to humans and our lives and are easily explained. All of the examples given for each idea of Emerson's attitude further explain how he not only enjoys nature, but he is charmed and connected to it throughout everyday life. This is true for what he

follows also. Transcendentalist believe that Nature is connected to each human through over

soul. This passage would indeed show that the universal ideas of life for humans are connected to Nature, however as complex as they seem.

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