Essay On Self Reliance Summary

Essay On Self Reliance Summary-87
Emerson urges his readers to retain the outspokenness of a small child who freely speaks his mind.

Emerson urges his readers to retain the outspokenness of a small child who freely speaks his mind.

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"Self-Reliance" is an essay that urges readers to trust their own intuition and common sense rather than automatically following popular opinion and conforming to the will of the majority.

"Self-Reliance" was published in 1841 in a collection entitled Essays.

Among the most notable characteristics of Emersons writing style are these: (1) thorough development of his thesis through examples, repetition, and reinforcement; (2) coinage of memorable statements of principle, or aphorisms; (3) frequent references (allusions) to historical and literary figures, such as Socrates, Galileo, Copernicus, Napoleon, Shakespeare, Franklin, Dante, and Scipio (ancient Roman general who defeated Hannibal), who embody qualities Emerson discusses; (4) frequent use of figurative language to make a point, such as An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man" (metaphor) and They who made England, Italy, or Greece venerable in the imagination did so by sticking fast where they were, like an axis of the earth" (simile).

Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties, lean, and follow the Past and the Distant.... Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are as near to us as to any, and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.

The sentiment they instil [Emerson's spelling of instill] is of more value than any thought they may contain.

Essay On Self Reliance Summary

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,that is genius.

Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmostand our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment.

Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought.

If the government adopted a policy or a law that offended their consciences, they generally reacted strongly.

Transcendentalism, as Emersons moral philosophy was called, did not originate with him or his fellow transcendentalists in New England but with the German philosopher Emanuel Kant.

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