When Frederick Douglass becomes a free man, he is no longer a slave by law, but the damage that has been done to him physically and mentally will stay with him for some time to come. Douglass is saying that even if he looks like a slave for the rest of his life, he is legally a free man and what he looks like doesn’t necessarily determine how he feels. It is a rebellious statement, saying that slavery will never beat him, he always comes out on top.
“That great principle of Undulation in nature, that shows itself in the inspiring and expiring of the breath; in desire and satiety; in the ebb and flow of the sea; in day and night; in heat and cold; and as yet more deeply ingrained in every atom and every fluid, is known to us under the name of Polarity, — these “fits of easy transmission and reflection,” as Newton called them, are the law of nature because they are the law of spirit.”
Whitman and Emerson believe that nature can teach us a lot about the human mind. Walt Whitman talks about leaves of grass as something that can teach us about humans and how we think. While we don’t often look at grass and think “what is that really…?” but Whitman did, and it caused him to have deep thoughts about nature. Similarly, Emerson thinks deeply about waves in the ocean, another part of nature. They both recognize that nature’s influence is powerful on the mind.
Alice in Wonderland is an example of a contemporary story where nature plays a transformative role. In this story, Alice ventures into the wilderness, stumbles upon a rabbit, and goes into his whole after him. What Alice discovers on her adventure is that it is her duty to end the terrible queen’s reign of terror. Without Alice’s trip into nature, she never would have known that she was destined to kill the Red Queen and save the day.