Experience | Study Guide

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Experience Study Guide." Course Hero. 8 Jan. 2021. Web. 22 Jan. 2022. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Experience/>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2021, January 8). Experience Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Experience/

In text

(Course Hero, 2021)



Course Hero. "Experience Study Guide." January 8, 2021. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Experience/.


Course Hero, "Experience Study Guide," January 8, 2021, accessed January 22, 2022, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Experience/.

Experience | Symbols


In "Experience" Emerson establishes several symbolic metaphors and analogies but uses them only once or twice to illustrate particular points. Though the use of these symbols is brief, they serve as a small but helpful guide to understanding his more abstract overall discussion.

Roads and Highways

Emerson uses the symbol of traveling a highway in several places to illustrate his advice of staying away from extremes and searching for what is necessary for common experiences. On one side of the highway is "the thin and cold realm of pure geometry and lifeless science," and on the other is pure sensation. In other words, some people go to the extreme of being purely logical and analytical about everything, while others go to the opposite extreme of living only for feelings and physical sensations. The highway that Emerson recommends takes a middle path between these extremes and offers all of the ordinary objects, books, people, and experiences that are necessary to gain wisdom.


Emerson repeatedly refers to Nature as both the natural world around us and a personified force that inspires and guides us. It is distinct from God but acts to help us connect to God and guide us through life's difficulties. The opening poem concludes with the lines, "Dearest Nature, strong and kind, / Whispered, 'Darling, never mind! / Tomorrow they will wear another face, / The founder thou! these are thy race!'" In these lines Nature is personified as a helpful guide that comforts humanity and reassures it that the intimidating giant figures described earlier in the poem are just part of itself.

Questions for Symbols

View all
Write a short essay that includes the following information based on emails. Different options for addressing an email The importance of using an informative subject line The importance of signatures
Question 1 The reason many students fail exams is because they do not study. incomplete comparison lack of parallelism faulty predication dangling modifier 1 points Question 2 Scuba diving is where yo
I need a strong thesis and essay for the following topic. What particular action(s) should Christians take regarding the environment and its preservation or restoration?
Chapter summaries for the book, "lies my teacher told me"?
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Experience? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!