"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Properly Acknowledged by
Ralph Waldo Emerson certainly took his place in the history of American
Literature . He lived in a time when romanticism was becoming a way of thinking
and beginning to bloom in America, the time period known as The Romantic Age.
Romantic thinking stressed on human imagination and emotion rather than on basic
facts and reason. Ralph Waldo Emerson not only provided plenty of that, but he
also nourished it and inspired many other writers of that time. "His influence
can be found in the works of Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman,
Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and Robert Frost.". No doubt, Ralph Waldo Emerson
was an astute and intellectual man who influenced American Literature and has
rightly received the credit that he deserves from historians. He has been
depicted as a leading figure in American thought and literature, or at least
ranks up there with the very best. But there is so much more to Ralph Waldo
Emerson when we consider the personal hardships that he had to endure during the
course of his life and when we see the type of man that he becomes. He certainly
was a man of inspiration who knew how to express himself by writing the best of
poems and philosophical ideas with inspiration.
To get an idea of how Ralph Waldo Emerson might have become such an
inspiration to the people, some background on his life is essential. Can you
imagine living a life with all your loved ones passing away one by one? A
persons life could collapse into severe depression, lose hope, and lose meaning.
He can build a morbid outlook on life. Ralph Waldo Emerson suffered these
things. He was born on May 25, 1803 and entered into a new world, a new nation
just beginning. Just about eight years later, his father would no longer be
with him, as William Emerson died in 1811. The Emerson family was left to a
life marked by poverty. Ralph\'s mother, Ruth, was left as a widow having to
take care of five sons. However, Ralph\'s life seemed to carry on smoothly. He
would end up attending Harvard College and persue a job of teaching full time.
While teaching as a junior pastor of Boston\'s Second Church, his life gained
more meaning when he married Ellen Louisa Tucker. Journal entries and love
letters he wrote at that time expressed lots of feelings and emotions that he
had. But after two short years of marriage, Ellen died of tuberculosis.
Suddenly, the one true person he had in his life was gone. Life was losing it\'s
meaning, and Ralph Waldo Emerson was in need of some answers. This dark period
drove him to question his beliefs. Emerson resigned from the Second Church and
his profession as a pastor in search for vital truth and hope. But his father
and wife were not the only deaths that he had to deal with. His strength and
endurance would be put to the test much further with a perennial line of loved
ones dying. His brother Edward, died in 1834, Charles in 1836, and his son
Waldo (from his second wife Lydia Jackson) in 1842. After such a traumatic life,
you might expect that Emerson, like any other person,would collapse into severe
depression, lose hope, and lose meaning to his life. But Emerson was different.
He found the answers within himself and rebounded into a mature man.
After surviving a mentally hard life, Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to gain
more discernment toward life. Wisdom is gained through experience. By 1835,
Emerson\'s rare and extravagant spirit was ready to be unleashed. All his deep
feelings, emotions, and thoughts fabricated truth the way he arrived at truth,
within himself. "To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for
you in your private heart is true for all men- that is genius. Speak your
latent conviction and it shall be the universal sense; for always the inmost
becomes the outmost-and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets
of the last judgment." Emerson fully believed this and supported it by taking
part in a new philosophical movement called Transcendentalism. In 1836, his
first boot, Nature, was published. Nature expressed the main points of
Transcendentalism. With this, Ralph Waldo Emerson started the Transcendental
Club the same year. This club published a magazine called The Dial, fully
promulgating philosophy, literature, and Emerson\'s truth fearlessly. He was
starting to gain recognition. The young were opening their minds, and the old
were impressed. Harvard was so impressed of him that
View Full Essay
Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lecturers, Mystics, Divinity School Address, The American Scholar, Nature, Essays, Uriel, Self-Reliance, Emerson, Henry David Thoreau
More Free Essays Like This