Robert Frost and Ralph Waldo Emerson: Similarities in Nature





Robert Frost and Ralph Waldo Emerson are two obviously different types of writers. They both wrote during different times, Emerson during the nineteenth century, and Frost during the twentieth. Emerson and Frost had different views on the poet's role. Both authors views were characteristic relating to the different time period in which each of them wrote. In Alvan S. Ryan's essay "Frost and Emerson: Voice and Vision" he writes "There is nothing about Frost's Conception of the role of a poet that is close to Emerson's."(Ryan126) Emerson and Frost both had different writing styles, as
again described in Alvan S. Ryan's essay Frost and Emerson: Voice and Vision he says " Whereas Emerson prefers to be suggestive, to develop a few images or a series of briefly sketched scenes, Frost characteristically structures a poem around a single symbolic event. Emerson's unifying principle is ideational, Frost's metaphorical."(Ryan127) Both of these writers have their differences as all writers do. A close look at their works will show that Frost and Emerson have similarities.
At a first glance the works Frost and Emerson seem to have numerous similarities. In Alvan S. Ryan's essay "Frost and Emerson: Voice and Vision" he states that Frost and Emerson "agree on the central importance of symbol and metaphor.




They have a common preoccupation with rural subjects. They share basic sense of 'correspondence'. . . ."(Ryan125)Also, these two writers are similar in that they both
tend to write about the same subject matter. Many of the titles of Frost's poems: "Mending Wall," "Storm-Fear," "The White- Tailed Hornet," "I Could Give All to Time," and "Spring Pools" are similar to the titles of some of Emerson's poems: "The Snow- Storm," "Give All to Love," "Two Rivers," "The Humble-Bee," "The Rhodora." These similarities are superficial and can be seen in comparing many other authors. Where these two writers really connect is in their common interest in nature.
Both writers have reputations of being poets of nature. In Emerson's essay "Nature" he writes "In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature."(Emerson442) An essay written by Roberts W. French "Robert Frost and the Darkness of Nature" states, in his poems Frost always "seems to be participating in the life of nature, deriving sustenance from it , and finding in it a deeply satisfying source of pleasure"(French155).
They both have similar theories as to why it was important for them to write about nature. Emerson writes in his essay "The American Scholar", "the first important influences upon the mind is that of nature"(Emerson468). He also says that nature is a




"circular power returning into itself. Therein it resembles his own spirit, whose beginning, whose ending he never can find - so entire - so boundless."(Emerson469) In
Emerson's essay "Nature" he writes "It is not words that are emblematic; it is things which are emblematic. Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact . . . . Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour and is not reminded of the flux of all things?"(Emerson447-448) From these quotes it is seen that Emerson believed nature
was a force everything was connected through. By understanding nature one can understand his own spirit. Thus Emerson believed nature helped to clarify the supernatural. Seemingly Emerson believed writing about nature brought him closer to nature thus bring him closer to his own spirit.
Frost does not go as deep as Emerson in that he did not believe that nature helped to clarify the supernatural. In his essay "Education by Poetry" Frost says " The figure a poem makes… It begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life- not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects as cults are founded on , but a momentary stay against confusion."(Frost77). Frost believed that his poems helped to clarify life.
However Frost also believed as Emerson that poetry helped to make the unity




between the natural world and the spirit. In Frost's essay "Education