Rhetorical Analysis Of Self-Reliance, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

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As chief founder of transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson inspires his audience in“Self-Reliance” to rely on themselves and be confident enough to become non-conformists. Transcendentalists live simple and individualistic lives and Emerson conveys the importance of this lifestyle through the need for social reforms in education, slavery, women’s rights, and Native American rights. Throughout the excerpt of “Self-Reliance”, Emerson explores the conflicts between society and individuals, rebukes the misconceptions of standing out, and emphasizes what civilization and society destroy in order to inspire change and self-reliance to occur. Society conflicts with the goals of individuals and harsh diction emphasizes the already negatively connotated…show more content…
Metaphorically, Emerson describes, “The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle.” Due to the fact that this man has relied on society’s “crutches” and “coach”, he has lost the talents that once came naturally. Emerson employs metonymy through showing how frequently, change is not always for the better, and people need to learn that they cannot just accept something because society tells them to. People must figure issues out for themselves. He shows that people need to rely on themselves in order for this world to move forward and improve. Emerson builds the audience’s confidence in their own abilities in order to persuade them to lead social reforms and change society for the better. Throughout Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance”, anaphora, metaphors, and various tropes and schemes are used to personify and exemplify the actions that need to occur so that the transcendentalist philosophy can come to fruition. Education, slavery, and rights for women and Native Americans are inspired to become a social norm and in order for that to occur, people need to rely on themselves. Self-reliance is an integral part of today’s society, reflecting the impact of Emerson’s transcendentalist
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