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Emerson's Use Of Ethos In Self Reliance

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Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Self-Reliance during the time period when transcendentalism emerged, thus based his essay off of this ideology. Transcendentalism is known as the philosophy that divine truth is present in all created things and that truth is known through intuition, not through the rational mind. This principle seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout many of Emerson’s essays. In fact, he is known as a transcendentalist philosopher. In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, Emerson is convincing his readers that self-reliance is more important than being dependent on others by using metaphors and pathos.
Within just the first paragraph, the reader can already detect a metaphor. Emerson says that “a man should learn to…watch that gleam …show more content…

He is trying to get his audience to realize how vital self-reliance is in order to truly live your life. He tells his readers that “great works of art…teach [one] to abide by [their] spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what [they] have thought and felt all the time, and [they] shall be forced to take with shame [their] own opinion from another.” In short, Emerson is saying that if one does not listen to their own thoughts and express them, then their opinion seems unoriginal and “[taken] with shame [their] own opinion from another”. He wants his readers to take a stand and state their opinion, to not be afraid, to stand up for themselves. Do not wait until you have the popular opinion, for it will not help you in the long run. One should want to claim their opinion as their own, not as another’s. This is his first attempt to make his readers self-reliant—or at least make them want to take the first step. Emerson then says that “a man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best” to let the reader know how it would feel if they put their all into something that was important to them—whether original or not. Ideally, an individual would feel quite happy after starting and finishing their own work, just like the “eminent painter” Emerson mentions in the first line of his essay. Emerson is hoping that, by saying these things and using pathos that he can make his readers understand how lovely it is to be independent of others and the consequences of conforming.
Self-Reliance¬ ¬is written with an abundance of metaphors and pathos to persuade his audience that they should not conform to society’s norms. “Society is a joint-stock company”, wanting what is best for a society as a whole and not their individual selves. Though

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