An Essay On John Muir & William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, in one of his literary works, said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

What he means, is that to have a truly remarkable piece of writing you have to write honestly and from your heart, and to also use admirable writing techniques. Writing can be difficult and can take a lengthy amount of time, but if you work hard and don’t concede, you can make an excellent piece of writing. For example, John Muir’s essay, “Calypso Borealis” and William Wordsworth’s poem, “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud” are two exceptional and awe-inspiring works. William Wordsworth and John Muir both show an admiration for nature through their use of diction and imagery.


William Wordsworth’s use of diction and imagery express his admiration for nature. Wordsworth’s diction consists of words that are academic and formal, along with a respectful, revered tone as he conveys his affection for the daffodils. The poem starts off with Wordsworth having a wistful diction, saying that “I wandered lonely as a cloud”. Though, as he notices a field of daffodils he becomes gleeful and begins describing the daffodils with a more revered diction, “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”, “Tossing their head in a sprightly dance”, “What wealth the show brought to me”, which shows how the positive, and loving tone he has. His word choice shows how devoted he is to nature. Wordsworth’s keen use of diction illustrates greatly detailed images of the daffodils. The first three lines of the second stanza, “Continuous as the stars that shine, and twinkle on the milky way, they stretched in never-ending line…”  give the reader an image of bright yellow and white flowers, light gently bouncing off them causing them sparkle, stretched as far as the eye can see. These vivid words he uses create a positive and impressive image of the daffodils, and the diction is very formal in these lines. You can clearly see just how much happiness the daffodils give him. The diction and imagery used in this poem share with the reader Wordsworth’s everlasting bond with nature.


Although John Muir also uses both imagery and diction as well, which make his essay outstanding, he writes from a different perspective than Wordsworth. Muir’s adept use of negative and positive choice of words when describing his trek expresses his feelings and relationship with nature. In his second paragraph Muir starts off by stating the first beautiful flower he is trying to discover, the Calypso borealis; “The rarest and most beautiful of the flowering plants I discovered on this first grand excursion was Calypso borealis (Hider of the North)”.  Alas, his joy soon ends as he starts describing the challenges he faces with a negative diction, saying, “I had been fording streams more and more difficult to cross…”, “…I began to fear that I would not be able to reach dry ground before dark…”. Fortunately, in the last four paragraphs, he finally discovers Calypso and he changes to a more positive and gleeful diction. He describes Calypso with admiration, “The flower was white and made the impression of the utmost simple purity like a snowflower.”, “It seemed the most spiritual of all the flower people I had ever met.” Muir’s diction was lively, and jocund after he found Calypso, undoubtedly expressing his abiding relationship with nature with the reader. In the second sentence of his fifth paragraph, “Hunger and weariness vanished, and only after the sun was low in the west I splashed on through the swamp, strong and exhilarated as if never more to feel any mortal care.” gives an extraordinary image to reader of how Muir felt after discovering Calypso. You can tell that he feels energized and lively, and is determined to keep moving forward no matter what obstacle gets in his way. Another excerpt, tells how he embraces nature, and considers the weather as a comrade: “Storms, thunderclouds, winds in the woods – were welcomed as friends.” This closing sentence gives you the image of Muir happily enjoying the forces of nature. Even in his struggle to survive in the woods and swamps, the imagery Muir uses expresses Muir’s relationship with nature.

John Muir and William Wordsworth have opened my eyes to the great influence and power of nature. They have creatively let me see the immense joy and happiness, as well as the frustration and fear that nature instilled in them. These amazing authors have written in such a way that the reader can easily picture their stories in their head, and they truly show their love for nature through their words. These authors are exceptionally talented writers, and have taught me that nature has the ability to change someone’s life. If you want to know just how powerful and influential John Muir and William Wordsworth are, then read their works, they’re sure to change at least one aspect of your life.




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