Romanticism and Naturalisticism: Reflections on Nature
Essential to man's survival, nature deserves respect. In fact, if nature is not respected or cared for, the future may be a place without a natural habitat. Growing with buildings and industrial parks, the world might be a place where one will not have a place to go to relax, to have fun, or to sit and collect thoughts. Therefore, both Henry David Thoreau and William Faulkner have written to show their concern for nature through a romantic's eyes in Walden and "The Bear" respectively, while I see nature through naturalistic eyes.
H. D. Thoreau is deeply concerned with nature. In Walden, Thoreau expresses his love of nature by reporting on his solitaire life on the shores of Walden Pond where, for two years, he explored man's and his own relationship to Nature. Separated from the outside world at Walden Pond, Thoreau practiced self-reliance, and simplicity in everyday life, and he took time to learn what nature offered to teach him. Being a romantic, Thoreau expressed his love of nature through poetic diction for example, "There, in a very secluded and shaded spot, under a spreading white-pine, there was yet a clean firm sward to sit on (183). Thoreau made a mental picture for his readers when he described the wilderness. Also, Thoreau idealizes nature as a teacher and as an advisor who has taught him how to live without money. He claims, "Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul..." (240/41). Thoreau believed that money was not a necessity to live in the world. In conclusion, Thoreau showed his willingness to learn from nature and his idealism about her through romantic eyes in his book Walden.
Similarly, William Faulkner demonstrates a romantic view of nature. Ike, the main character, exhibited idealism and his love of nature in the pursuit of a bear in the opening of the story when Ike was only ten. While looking for the bear, Ike leaves his gun at the camp. Next, he sees the bear who is hovering above his little dog. Trying to save his little dog, Ike positioned himself underneath the bear's out stretched arms. The idealism of this example is that the bear did not attack the dog or Ike but ran away to leave the young boy unharmed. Second, Faulkner expressed his love of nature through Ike. Respecting nature enough not to kill this mythical creature who symbolizes the wilderness, Ike passed this opportunity due to his love of nature. "The Bear" by William Faulkner is seen through romantic eyes.
I see nature through naturalistic eyes due to its indifference to man and ability to drive humans to rely on their instincts. First, I believe that nature is indifferent to man because of the horrible tragedies that occur because of nature's power. Watching the news, I often hear about hurricanes, droughts, or earthquakes that destroy entire communities. The people that live in the disaster stricken areas are incapable of preventing the catastrophe. Second, I believe, that when a human is stuck out in nature alone for a long time, hunger and fear control his or her mind and actions. For example, if I was lost in nature, I would try to find civilization when I know that I should remain where I am.
In conclusion, nature deserves respect. Similarly, Henry David Thoreau and William Faulkner see nature through romantic eyes. In contrast to these great authors, I see nature through naturalistic eyes. In conclusion, though one might fear or enjoy nature, nature should always be respected because it provides many essentials to life.
Faulkner, William. "The Bear." American Literature. Eds. George Kearns et al. Signature ed. N.Y.: Glencoe, 1991. 640-49.
Thoreau, Henry David. "From Walden." Adventures in American Literature.Eds. Francis Hodgins et al. Athena ed. Austin: Holt, 1996. 232-41.