Five of One Hundred Great Essays
Waldo Emerson, Ralph “Nature”
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “Nature” in 1836 to try to convince the reader that they should appreciate nature more. He tells how he feels people overlook nature but they need to reach it in solitude and explains different people’s relationship with nature.
Emerson says to go into solitude people need to distance themselves from work and society. He feels a connection with nature is important as a human being. However, most people in society don’t feel the same way. He thinks that if the stars would only appear once every thousand years people wouldn’t be able to appreciate the “city of God,” but since the stars come out every night everyone should try to bask in their beauty. He makes a connection between a poet and land by saying even though the landscape belongs to so and so, he who’s eye can appreciate the beauty owns it. However, his reliability is threatened by this all being a mere speculation of opinion. Those who do not care for solitude may look upon this and frown. Those who are not very thoughtful struggle with being “poets.” Those void of religion may not feel the need to remember the “city of God.” However, to those who look upon this and do feel a connection he may look back on their lives and try to make changes in it.
Hughes, Langston “Salvation”
Langston Hughes wrote “Salvation” with the purpose of reflecting on his younger self and to tell how much the situation affected him. The audience Huges intended is the reader. The passage started with the weeks leading up to the revival with the focal point of the passage being the “special meeting for children.”
Hughes tells how he felt he wasn’t really saved from sin because his aunt told him if he were saved he would have “[seen] a light” and “something [would have] happened to [him] inside,” and neither of those things occurred to him. Instead, he sat around waiting for the feeling of “being saved” to come over him, and when it didn’t he felt a sense of embarrassment. He wasn’t the only one sitting, for a boy named Westley was in the same predicament. However, Westley had had enough of the hot church and just sitting there so he thought it’d be better to move things along by getting up. Hughes kept waiting for Jesus to come to him instead of joining Westley.
The minister asked Hughes why he wouldn’t come as if didn’t want to come when in fact he did. He buckled under the pressure of the minister and from the sobs of his aunt he decided to stand too. Although the sea became a wave of rejoicing, in the midst of it all he knew neither him or Westley were really saved. Hughes tone is filled with melancholy and guilt as he tells how instead of crying over being salvaged, he was crying because he didn’t see Jesus. There’s a feeling of helplessness when Hughes appeals to emotion to tell how he didn’t believe in Jesus anymore. Hughes appears to be credible because this is a passage telling of an important event that affected his future religious beliefs. People sometimes feel outcast by others if they don’t have the same beliefs or opinions as the majority of people in their society, so there’s no reason for him to lie about being different from the boys and girls who were saved.
Lincoln, Abraham “The Gettysburg Address”
Abraham Lincoln spoke on November 19, 1863 with the purpose of memorializing those who died in the battle of Gettysburg.
The president’s tone was filled with remorse for those who died. He felt the ground where the dead were buried was then sacred and they deserved honor. He spoke with ambition to keep pushing forward to give honor to those who used the last of themselves for the country. Of course, the president was reliable as he was the leader of the Union.
Anne Porter, Katherine “The Necessary Enemy”
Katherine Anne Porter wrote “The Necessary Enemy” in 1948 to expose the truth behind what goes into a marriage. Perhaps she meant for young lovebirds to read it, or maybe even a long-married couple looking to find a way to reconcile. It could be for anyone trying to understand love.
Porter wants the reader to know that it is possible to hate your spouse. Overall, her tone is honest and humane. She reaches into her childhood and pulls out memories of being punished “because [her parents] loved her.” She became frightened to know that her parents possibly hate each other too. This may apply to emotions for the reader because many people have experienced their parents in the midst of a fight. Porter fears losing her husbands love if she lets it be known that she has the same feelings of hate that she had for her parents. However, like in most successful marriages, her “hatred seems quite unreal” in the end of an argument. When she explains how easily people believe in hate but doubt love, the reader can understand why she fears hate in her marriage. To someone who has never been in love or isn’t in a marriage, her words may make no sense. However, she is reliable because she speaks of the things people try to ignore and bury. She speaks of the fear of losing her peace of mind. She speaks of the fear of a marriage failing due to not having enough love to give. She speaks of the fear of feeling hatred towards a spouse during hard times. Most of all, she speaks of how that hatred is part of a marriage and that it is necessary.
Chief Seattle, “Speech on the Signing of the Treaty of Port Elliott”
One day in 1854 Chief Seattle gave a speech to his people in reply to Governor Isaac Stevens regarding the white men owning their land and giving them enough to live peacefully. He spoke of the differences between the red men and the white men.
Chief Seattle seemed to be talking to his people at first. He wanted them to forgive the white men and to allow them to buy the land. He described the white men as grass and the red men as scattering trees. He tried to get the young men to understand that the elders know better. His speech was filled with proper words and he spoke with sincerity. However, his tone took a shift towards being pensive when he questioned if it could ever be possible that they become Governor Isaac Stevens’ “children.” It seems the focal point of the audience changed to the governor. It is clear ancestors and family were important to Chief Seattle when he makes it clear the the “dead” still love the land and that “there is no death, only a change of worlds.” He is entirely reliable as no one