Ralph Waldo Emerson's 'Nature' and Its Relevance for College Students

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 664 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 664|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Connecting with Nature
  2. Self-Reliance
  3. Silence and Solitude
  4. Conclusion

The Transcendentalist movement, which emerged in the mid-19th century, emphasized the unity of all living things and sought to connect individuals with nature. One of the key figures of Transcendentalism is Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose essay "Nature" is a defining text for the movement. In this essay, Emerson argues that individuals can connect with the divine through nature, and that nature itself is a source of spiritual inspiration. In this essay, I will explore some of the examples of transcendentalism in Emerson's "Nature," and analyze how these ideas continue to resonate with college students today.

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Connecting with Nature

One of the central themes of "Nature" is the idea that individuals can find spiritual fulfillment by connecting with the natural world. Emerson argues that nature has a "restorative power" that can help individuals overcome the stresses of modern life and find a greater sense of purpose. For example, he writes, "the stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible." In this passage, Emerson is suggesting that the vastness and beauty of the natural world can help individuals transcend their everyday concerns and connect with something greater than themselves.

Many college students today can relate to this idea of seeking meaning and fulfillment through a connection with nature. In an age of constant stimulation and distraction, the simplicity and tranquility of nature can provide a much-needed respite. Whether it's going for a hike, spending time in a park, or simply sitting outside and observing the world around us, connecting with nature can help college students feel more balanced and centered.


Another important aspect of Transcendentalism is the idea of self-reliance. Emerson argues that individuals should trust their own instincts and intuition, rather than relying on external authorities. He writes, "the eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end." In other words, Emerson is suggesting that individuals can learn to trust their own perceptions and find their own path in life, rather than following the dictates of society or conforming to the expectations of others.

This idea of self-reliance is particularly relevant for college students, many of whom are navigating a period of intense personal growth and self-discovery. In a culture that often values conformity and obedience over individuality and creativity, it can be difficult for college students to stay true to themselves and honor their own unique perspectives and values. By embracing the Transcendentalist ideals of self-reliance and individuality, college students can learn to trust their own inner voice and cultivate a more authentic and fulfilling life path.

Silence and Solitude

Finally, "Nature" is also notable for its emphasis on the importance of silence and solitude. Emerson argues that individuals need to take time to be alone and reflect on their thoughts and feelings in order to connect with the deeper meanings of life. He writes, "in the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature." By spending time in quiet contemplation, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

For college students, who often face constant social pressures and distractions, finding time for silence and solitude can be challenging. But taking a few moments each day to disconnect from technology, clear the mind, and simply be present in the moment can have profound benefits for mental health and overall well-being. By embracing the Transcendentalist value of solitude, college students can learn to be more comfortable with themselves and cultivate a deeper sense of inner peace.

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In conclusion, "Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a defining text of the Transcendentalist movement, which emphasized spiritual connection with nature, self-reliance, and solitude. These ideas continue to resonate with college students today, who are seeking meaning and purpose in their own lives. By embracing the ideals of Transcendentalism, college students can learn to connect more deeply with themselves and the natural world, and cultivate a more authentic and fulfilling life path.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and Its Relevance for College Students. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and Its Relevance for College Students.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024,
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and Its Relevance for College Students. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and Its Relevance for College Students [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 07 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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