Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Self-Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of America’s most significant thinkers and writers, in what is believed to be his most important and influential expression of America’s spirit “Self-Reliance” talks about the importance and significance of individualism and being yourself. Throughout his writing, Emerson uses many rhetorical devices, interesting sentence structures and hortatory tone in order to successfully explain the importance of being yourself. Emerson’s work often times stands out due to his interesting way of writing, and even in the first paragraph, Emerson is quick to grab the attention of his audience by using a periodic sentence and a dash with which he states his claim, “To believe your own thought, to believe what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men − that is genius” (Emerson 1). To put into other words, Emerson’s unique sentence structures in his writing really serve as effective and important tools.
Many people rely on the opinions of others, never truly stopping to personally consider the subject at hand. Ralph Waldo Emerson, an impactful American writer, wrote a piece entitled Self- Reliance. In Self-Reliance, Emerson’s purpose is to promote ideas of individualistic thinking. Emerson uses strong, rhetorical strategies, such as figurative language, allusions, and complex syntax and parallelism to effectively persuade his audience to trust their own thoughts.
Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that occurred in America after the Enlightenment and before the Civil War. Transcendental authors espoused closeness with nature while at the same time nonconformity with mainstream society. These ideals were clearly expressed in the literature written by both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. When comparing the the feelings of intimacy and respect held toward nature within this time period it is beneficial to look at both Emerson’s “Nature” and Thoreau’s “Walden”. Within both of these essays the bond between man and nature is portrayed as being positive.
The dictionary defines the term outlier as “a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system”. In both Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, a person being an outlier is something that is a fairly common thing. The term outlier is consequently the theme of Gladwell’s
American currencies, specifically coins, have two sides: a head and a tail. The head and tail are different, yet they are still part of the same coin. Two American authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, represent two sides of the same coin: Transcendentalism. Transcendentalism swept through America as a new worldview in the 1900’s. Transcendentalism is a philosophy that asserts the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material, that deals with aspects of nature.
Transcendentalist Owl City In the 1840’s, writers and thinkers in the literary world started to think outside of the box, even more so than Romanticism. This movement is Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement based in New England that later migrated to America. Transcendentalists believed that intuition and the individual conscience could “transcend” experience, making them better guides to truth than logical reason.
The theme of the essay “Self Reliance” written by Emerson is for beings to not focus on those of others or subside his/her values to fit in with our society, for true geniuses comes from within and are made with their own heart and mind. His idea of self-reliance differs from that of the norm in that he doesn’t encourage those to mix into selfish ways but to be open and proud of their own individuality for that is the true key to life itself. Emerson’s idea is similar to the common use in that he encourages those to not depend on others to define his/her identity. 2. Emerson’s use of figurative language encourages his readers to view his ideas in a clearer and more emphasized perspective.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a renowned transcendentalist, shared many universal truths during the period of Transcendentalism, which further advocated the ideals of the period. This maxim in particular expresses that your own identity and perspective of the world is what is most important in the end. Emerson states that nothing is as important as you, regarding the path you choose and the ideals you create for yourself. In other words, Emerson encourages people to not succumb to society's expectations of who a person should be, but instead live a lifestyle you desire to live.
The American Scholar and American Exceptionalism Ralph Waldo Emerson’s oration The American Scholar is a speech about the role he sees for the United States in the world and an example of American Exceptionalism. In this oration, delivered before the Phi beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge Massachusetts, on the 31st of August 1837, Emerson uses the Scholar as an abstract for the United States as a nation. The function and importance attributed to the scholar by Emerson mirrors the function Emerson sees for the United States as a whole. Just as the scholar must be an example to society, the United States must be one for the world. The oration is divided into five parts.
A common fact known to man is that everyone is different; no two people are identical in looks, style or interests. Everyone is unique and a good example of this is in Emerson’s poem called “fate”. Emerson’s writing is extremely unique and unlike any other. His writing is so strong it influence other famous writers like Thoreau’s life and Whitman’s style to be more naturalistic and separate from society. Emerson was seen as one of the lead of individualism a critic of the pressures of society.