Stylistic Analysis Even though Ralph Waldo Emerson is writing in essay form, his style of writing in the above passage is still very literary.
It makes no difference to him whether his actions are praised or ignored. Whereas Christ alone has traditionally been regarded as the Word made flesh, Emerson regards every human potentially as a reincarnation of the Word.
Themes[ edit ] Individual authority: Emerson posits that reliance upon institutionalized religion hinders the ability to grow mentally as an individual.
Viewed in light of self, history is thus the biography of a few unusually powerful figures. And these individual natures allow the great thinker — the ideal individual — to battle conformity and consistency. Does this sound harsh to-day? After all, becoming mature involves the evolution of ideas, which is the wellspring of creativity.
This rebellious individualism contrasts with the attitude of cautious adults, who, because they are overly concerned with reputation, approval, and the opinion of others, are always hesitant or unsure; consequently, adults have great difficulty acting spontaneously or genuinely.
In this vivid image of the "corpse of. What appears to be inconsistency is often a misunderstanding based on distortion or perspective.
Emerson mentions that citizens control the government so they have control.
Consistency becomes a major theme in the discussion as he shows how it restrains independence and growth. Abounding with short aphorisms, the essay begins with an admonition to believe in the true self, which is considered in essence identical with the Universal Spirit: Emerson states, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.
The metaphor of a corpse as the receptacle of memory is a shocking — but apt — image of the individual who is afraid of contradiction.
Being obsessed with whether or not you remain constant in your beliefs needlessly drains energy — as does conformity — from the act of living. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.
But the man is, as it were, clapped into jail by his consciousness. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. Emerson wrote how the community is a distraction to self-growth, by friendly visits, and family needs. Who can thus avoid all pledges, and having observed, observe again from the same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unaffrighted innocence, must always be formidable.
Acting in accordance with true feeling, he believes, will automatically bring about a sound life. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater.
Having emphasized the importance of nonconformity, he begins to explore the philosophical basis for self-reliance. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility.
This can also happen in the community by a strong self-confidence. Shifting the discussion to how the ideal individual is treated, Emerson notes two enemies of the independent thinker: If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own.
Although the scorn of "the cultivated classes" is unpleasant, it is, according to Emerson, relatively easy to ignore because it tends to be polite. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. There is a difference between enjoying solitude and being a social hermit.
As a result of this moralistic view, society, like nature, may change but never advance. I must be myself. Conformity corrupts with a falseness that pervades our lives and our every action: NEXT Quote The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature.
Some of these ideas pertained closely to the values of America at the time.The Arrogant Emerson and Self-Reliance - The Arrogant Emerson and Self-Reliance "To believe your own thought, to believe that which is true for you in your private heart is true for all men-that is genius" (Self-Reliance and Other Essays, 19).
83 quotes from Self-Reliance and Other Essays: ‘To be great is to be misunderstood.’. These lectures were never published separately, but many of his thoughts in these were later used in "Self-Reliance" and several other essays.
Later lectures by Emerson led to public censure of his radical views, the staunch defense of individualism in "Self-Reliance" being a possible reaction to that censure. Summary and Analysis of Self-Reliance Paragraphs - The Importance of Self-Reliance Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List As in almost all of his work, he promotes individual experience over the knowledge gained from books: "To believe that what is true in.
In his book titled Essays, “Self-Reliance” follows “History” so that a balanced and self-contained unit can be created out of these mi-centre.coming with short aphorisms, the essay begins.
Self-Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson \Ne te quaesiveris extra." \Man is his own star; and the soul that can Render an honest and a perfect man, Commands all light, all in other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced.Download