American Literature

INSTRUCTIONS- respond accordingly to the following text below ************************** Hello Class, I would like to begin an additional discussion here this week that touches on a modern controversial topic and debate, but one that I also believe is still very relevant to some of the literary and historic themes we have been studying… Emerson and Thoreau shared similar philosophies about the importance and power of nature, both in the human condition and within the overall existence of mankind. Although nature is unpredictable and can often seem to be unfair and even destructive (considering that the end of the natural course of life is ultimately death), these Transcendentalists focused on the renewing force of nature. They believed that by observing and understanding the perpetual and repeating cycle of nature, one can truly rejuvenate one’s soul, which can lead to emotional and spiritual rebirth during one’s lifetime. I believe that they considered this reckoning and accepting of the eventuality of nature as the key to human happiness and contentment. Here are two quotes from these authors that nicely and clearly represent their ideas: In “Circles” Emerson writes, “There is no end in nature, but every ending is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens. This fact, as far as it symbolizes the moral fact of the Unattainable, the flying Perfect, around which the hands of man can never meet…” In Walden’s “Pond in Winter,” Thoreau states, “Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances we detect; but the harmony results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful.” ADDITIONAL FORUM TOPIC There was much controversy a couple years ago about Dr. Walter Palmer hunting and killing a beloved South African lion named Cecil. Although the killing may have been technically legal, at the time, most people convicted him in the court of moral and public opinion (research past articles about this story if you need to refresh your memory). Considering last week’s discussion about natural law verses man-made or human law, which is the more relevant “law” represented in this case and why? Also, what do you think Emerson and Thoreau would have thought about this incident relative to their perception of nature and its relationship to humanity?

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