Rhetorical Analysis Of Self Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self Reliance, he passionately expresses his views on individualism. Emerson’s views on individuality are views of following oneself’s own thoughts and passions, rather than fearing men and following the world. The speaker is successful in getting his point across with the use of allusions, anaphora, and thought triggering metaphors. As discussed previously, Emerson employs strong allusions of well known people to get his claim across, which is how important individuality is. He alludes to three famous, greatly praised men as he states, “the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton, is that they set at not books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought” (1). Emerson is clearly praising…show more content…
Emerson, in a grand attempt to share a metaphor of a beautiful instrument, simply, yet boldly utters, “trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string” (3). The awe-inspiring metaphor can be deciphered as this: if what is in your heart feels right, it is right. Emerson believes that people’s thoughts and feelings are naturally right because they are their own thoughts and feelings. Through this metaphor, Emerson is able to paint a majestic picture of what many might see as an angel playing harp, with music gently reassuring the audience that what they each think and feel is divine. The speaker generates pathos in his audience as he kindly reminds the people to have confidence in themselves. As the audience can see, Emerson ends these three paragraphs with this metaphor to ultimately instill self-assurance within the people and leave them with confidence. Overall, Ralph Waldo Emerson uses many rhetorical strategies to allow his audience to hear his passionate views on individuality. The allusions, the anaphora, and the metaphor give the audience three impactful men to admire, a steady beat with emphasis to follow throughout the piece, and a lasting self-confidence triggered
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