Imagery And Similes In Emerson's Commodity

1891 Words 8 Pages
In the next chapter, Commodity, Emerson discusses how man uses nature to his own benefit. Emerson explains how man views nature as raw materials to be changed and manipulated into “valued” goods that can be sold for monetary gain. To express this view, Emerson applies imagery and similes in this chapter. One such quote is “To diminish friction, he paves the road with iron bars, and, mounting a coach with a ship-load of men, animals, and merchandise behind him, he darts through the country, from town to town, like an eagle or a swallow through the air(Emerson 512).” He gives the reader an image to view in describing the travels of men, and then in comparing man to a bird, it expresses the great length animals travel for survival, but humans …show more content…
Emerson believes that nature is beautiful in any season, in any moment, in any light, and that nature can make anything beautiful. Where many see a desolate tree as ugly and awful, Emerson views this part of nature as spectacular; he says, “The leafless trees become spires of flame in the sunset(513).” In this portion of the essay Emerson is trying to show how nature’s light brings about beauty to everything it touches. Emerson is able to bring life to objects of abandonment through his specifically chosen adjectives that have specific connotations. However, Emerson does not simply focus on sunlight being beautiful, but he also focuses on air and water. Emerson states, “The long slender bars of cloud float like fishes in the sea of crimson light(513).” Through the essay it is apparent that Emerson is in awe of space and the heavens outside of the planet, but he is in even more awe of the water on the planet. Emerson continuously uses analogies with water in them and imagery to explain his points. Emerson uses water as a means for life, happiness, and change. Bodies of water are special parts of nature that cannot be controlled or tamed; they exist for themselves and they cannot be controlled. Ann Woodlief comments on the reason of Emerson’s continuous use of water by saying, “To appreciate a river properly, one must surrender himself to some degree to the elements and …show more content…
One reason is to help the reader visualize what Emerson is attempting to explain. When a reader can actively see what an author is explaining, the reader is able to engage in the text, instead of simply reading it. Using metaphors, with animals, objects, or even abstract ideas helps the reader to use different parts of the brain which in turn captures the reader’s attention. Once Emerson engaged the reader, his next priority was to help the reader understand what he was saying. Many of Emerson’s ideas are very abstract in the element that he brings life to inanimate things, like reason, and discipline. If Emerson had not added metaphors and personification, many would have been lost in his thought process, how can “reason” have a reasoning of its own? When Emerson personified them, the reader was able to imagine more clearly what Emerson was trying to explain. Another reason Emerson used literary devices was for entertainment. An author can not expect a reader to simply read black-and-white information, without anything to bring some sort of entertainment to the reader. In using metaphors it brings color to the otherwise grey writing. Emerson used metaphors as a way to capture a reader’s attention, explain his ideas, and entertain the reader enough for the reader to engage in the ideas written in the essay after the reader had finished. A metaphor to explain Emerson’s metaphors is given by Robert

Related Documents