Romanticism in the Fifth Walk

The story by Rousseau is a narrative illustrating his journey of solitude and his thoughts and experiences in his reverie. The “Fifth Walk,” a part of the reveries, highlights the life and happenings of Rousseau in an island that he takes refuge. He recalls his stay in the St. Pierre Island, where he dedicated his time to idleness, nature, and solitude. He narrates that of all the places he has lived in his life; there was none that gave him true happiness like the island. The island is inhabited by a single family and is less frequented by visitors making it an ideal place for Rousseau to soul-search himself. The environment that the author depicts is serene; there are woodlands, vineyards, trees, a lake, birds, and orchards that create a perfect setting for meditation and self-searching. The random walks that the author takes daily, sparks in-depth thoughts concerning the society’s falsity, nature, and life. The “Fifth Walk” develops ideas for romanticism; the use of individualism and nature explores and exemplifies the theme.

            Nature is among the elements that is mostly used in romantic literature where the beauty of the environment is used to bring out passionate emotions. In the “Fifth Walk,” Rousseau takes a lot of time connecting with nature. He describes the Island’s scenery as “Pleasant and wonderfully situated for the happiness of a man who likes to live within some defined limits” (Rousseau and Goulbourne 49). He explains that the shores of Lac de Bienne are romantic because of the arrangement of the woods and rocks that line the banks of the clear, crystalline waters. Rousseau uses his time studying the various plants on the island, giving attention to every one of them showing his attachment towards learning them. He says, “I wanted every single blade of grass and atom of the plant to be fully described” (Rousseau and Goulbourne 51-52). Rousseau sums his delightful reveries walking through the island and floating on waters on a boat as more pleasurable than any sweet things he has known in life. The writer explains that when he thinks of the place, he gets feelings of longing. He has the most candied regrets about the island wishing he could have spent all his life there; lost in nature and its beauty.             One of the romantic ideas that the story highlights is that of emotional contentment that nature facilitates. Rousseau seeks solace on the island…

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