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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagery Analysis

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THE TEXT REFERRED TO IN THIS PAGE CAN BE FOUND IN THE SAMPLE WORKS PAGE OF THIS WEBSITE; EMERSON'S EARLY ESSAYS: "FRIENDSHIP."

     In this poem, Emerson's images are primarily those of a natural context. He includes images such as the sea, a sunrise, and the sky, to describe the multi-faceted amalgam that is friendship. Perhaps one of the reasons for their inclusion was the symbolism that these terms often represent. When a person first thinks of the word "friendship," they probably consider the friendships that they have had in life. Emerson, however, describes friendship in a very general way, that encompasses the essence of the idea.
      In this way, the poem is more applicable to the everyday person, who marvels in their friendships regularly. The visual imagery of the first line, "a ruddy drop of manly blood," presents an idea that it is to be explained in the next few lines (Emerson). This framing of speech makes Emerson's ideas more understandable, and in this instance, expresses his belief that the universe is unpredictable. The "blood" described alludes to human suffering and everyday trials that are all too common. In contrast, friendship is always there; it is an everpresent life force that provides a social and emotional outlet.
     "Through thee alone the sky is arched, through thee the rose is red," shows the importance of friendship (Emerson). The visual imagery in this quote also demonstrates the idea that friendship can make miracles and defy odds. In the face of so much fear and devastation, this wonderful bond between two people is able to exist and conquer such. Through friendship, Emerson has learned a great deal about himself and learned that he cannot live without it. Through the use of mainly visual imagery, Emerson reveals an organic emotion. Friendship is directly related to love, and the author very obviously loves the person about whom he is speaking.

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