Write critical appreciation of the poem The Mountain and the Squirrel.

QuestionsWrite critical appreciation of the poem The Mountain and the Squirrel.
Yashika asked 3 weeks ago

Write a critical appreciation of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s fable “The Mountain and the Squirrel”.

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Staff answered 7 days ago

The Mountain and the Squirrel” is a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson that presents a conversation between a mountain and a squirrel. This seemingly simple dialogue delves into themes of individual worth, the interdependence of nature, and the relative nature of greatness. Here is a critical appreciation of the poem:

Theme and Meaning

Individual Worth: The primary theme is the idea that every being has intrinsic value and unique capabilities. The squirrel, despite being small, asserts its worth against the imposing grandeur of the mountain. This highlights Emerson’s transcendental belief in the importance of the individual and the idea that everyone has a purpose and value, regardless of their size or perceived significance.

Interdependence and Diversity: The poem emphasizes that different elements in nature, with their diverse abilities, contribute to the whole. The mountain and the squirrel both have their unique roles and strengths, which are necessary for the balance of nature. The mountain cannot crack a nut, and the squirrel cannot carry a forest on its back. This points to the idea of interdependence and the value of diversity in the natural world and society.

Relativity of Greatness: Emerson uses the dialogue to suggest that greatness is relative. The mountain’s grandeur is contrasted with the squirrel’s agility, and both are shown to be important in their own ways. This challenges the notion of comparing entities based on a single metric and promotes the idea that different forms of greatness exist.

Structure and Style

Dialogue Form: The poem is structured as a dialogue, which effectively brings out the contrasting perspectives of the mountain and the squirrel. This conversational style makes the philosophical themes more accessible and engaging.

Rhyme and Rhythm: The poem follows a simple rhyme scheme (AABB), which gives it a rhythmic and playful tone. This light-hearted approach helps to convey the deeper message in an approachable manner.

Tone: The tone of the poem is playful yet didactic. It carries a light-heartedness that makes the philosophical discourse more palatable and engaging, while still conveying important lessons about self-worth and diversity.

Literary Devices

Contrast: The poem employs contrast to highlight differences in size, strength, and abilities between the mountain and the squirrel. This contrast serves to underscore the poem’s message about the value of diverse capabilities.

Metaphor: Both the mountain and the squirrel are metaphors for different types of greatness and value. The mountain symbolizes immovable strength and grandeur, while the squirrel represents agility, resourcefulness, and individuality.

Personification: Emerson personifies the mountain and the squirrel, giving them human traits and the ability to speak. This literary device allows him to explore complex ideas in a simplified and relatable way.

“The Mountain and the Squirrel” is a deceptively simple yet profound poem that conveys significant philosophical insights through the dialogue of two personified natural elements. Emerson’s use of contrast, metaphor, and a playful tone allows him to explore themes of individual worth, the interdependence of nature, and the relative nature of greatness. The poem ultimately celebrates the unique value of every being and the importance of recognizing and appreciating the diverse strengths that each contributes to the whole.

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