Semester Exam Essay: “The Rhodora” and “To a Water fowl”

Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Cullen Bryant, in “The Rhodora” and “To a Water fowl” use different ways to convey style but their themes and approach to tone are comparable. Bryant and Emerson both find meaning and wisdom from observations in nature. Conversely they differ somewhat in their style and tone. Emerson’s style is, hardly archaic and less lofty in comparison to Bryant’s, whose use of archaic words and more sophisticated ideas gives the impression of loftiness. With regard to tone, Emerson and Bryant are similar in their approach to the subject. Bryant’s approach is ethereal and spiritual, as is Emerson’s

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s tone in “The Rhodora” is solemn and searching, evidence of this is given by the fact that the poem is answering a question and throughout it he seeks the answer, “Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose, I never thought to ask, I never knew” (pg.193, lines 13-14). In “To a Waterfowl”, Bryant’s attitude is that of sympathy for the solitary bird