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In his Poetics Plato contemplates the nature of aesthetics and existence He postulates that for every existing object and idea there is an absolute ideal which transcends human experience He further concludes that art including literature is an aesthetic representation of real objects and ideas that is used to better understand their ideals In theory as an object becomes closer ideal it also becomes a better subject for the artist American artists in particular have been given an invaluable opportunity to explore this realm of the Platonic ideal Because the American continent and its wilderness was primarily unsullied by the ravages of civilization the natural world found there by early settlers was much closer to being ideal than anywhere else on Earth For this reason nature has become one of the most important subjects of American art especially Literature Specific examples from American literature including the works Moby Dick The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Walden and To a Waterfowl can show how American authors explore the ideals of human existence through aesthetic representations of natureWilliam Cullen Bryant who has been called the father of American poetry is one of the earliest artists to capture the essence of nature in America and apply it to the human experience In his poem To A Waterfowl he uses the example of a waterfowl to reach a better understanding of human existence In the poem the waterfowl is portrayed as a near-perfect creation and it is treated with a sense of reverence The first stanza demonstrates thisWhither midst falling dewWhile glow the heavens with the last steps of dayFar though their rosy depths dost thou pursueThy solitary wayThough it is not curious that a bird would be flying in the morning Cullen presents the fowl in flight as being nearly supernatural The bird emerges from the heavens almost like an angel and the persona addresses it in an extremely respectful tone It can be presumed that the persona
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