Rhetorical Analysis Of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance

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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. Throughout the piece, Emerson uses extensive metaphors, making comparisons to things that are important to the audience, which increases their understanding and engages them. To open the third paragraph, Emerson makes this comparison: “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that…show more content…
One instance of Emerson’s parallelism is the first sentence of his second paragraph: “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till” (Emerson 2). The various clauses in the sentence have the same rhythm, thus creating parallelism. Using the parallelism to give his writing rhythm and flow, Emerson creates a scholarly, academic feel in this piece. Similarly, Emerson uses many compound and complex sentence structures throughout the piece, such as “Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact makes much impression on him, and another none” (Emerson 2). He uses this advanced syntax in order to give his sentences an air of sophistication, making him sound educated and intelligent. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a philosopher during the early 1800’s in America, wrote Self-Reliance, an essay about the importance of the individual, and relying one’s own thoughts and impressions. He emphasizes the importance of thinking for yourself, not relying on others to think for you. Rhetorical strategies, like figurative language, allusions, and elaborate syntax and parallelism, allow Emerson
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