From an in-class writing exercise from Honors Composition II:
Both Thoreau and Whitman seem to share a firm belief in both the power and majesty of the world around us. They both seek to commune with Nature and to pay great attention to its infinite detail. Thoreau, however, seems to calmly accept the facets of Nature's visage that so disturb Whitman. To Thoreau, Nature seems to represent the very epitome of truth and honesty, whereas Whitman does not disdain to suspect or question Nature. Last, Thoreau sees himself as a part of the natural world, while Whitman views himself separately, with Nature as a frighteningly higher entity.