Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”

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Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” was written in 1841 in New England during the Transcendentalist Movement, which was a revolt against the “Age of Reason” and the beginning of Romanticism. Emerson’s essay is about Transcendentalism, the belief that every human has his own way of thinking and personal inborn knowledge to build his opinion, independent from the common beliefs of the community and he should believe in and express his opinion to be successful. Emerson supports the idea of Transcendentalism by urging his readers to trust their own ideas, beliefs and common sense, to listen to and to trust their inner voice and to hold the popular opinion back from influencing their way of thinking, if they want to be successful. He tells them to be proud of their own opinion and not to be shy to express it.

If all men lived after the idea of Transcendentalism and became self-reliant, they would do all jobs and activities better than before and would have more success.

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think(American Literature Reader, pg. 56)” perfectly describes the main meaning of Self-Reliance. Emerson wants his readers to stop letting the community influence their own opinion and start trusting themselves. He says that men have to concentrate on their own thoughts and make them public. The beliefs of other men are not important for oneself since every human has inborn knowledge to recognize what is right, what is wrong and to understand moral truth.

Emerson and other Transcendentalists believed that this knowledge is a “Gift of God” and enough for an individual to build his own opinion but a man “shall be forced to take with shame his own opinion from another [citizen] (pg.55)”.

A man’s person...

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...ct honestly.

A man can just get an individual when he is self-reliant. If somebody lives after the idea of Transcendentalism and is self-reliant, he will succeed in his life. To get better success as a whole nation, the economy, the community, the government and the educational system need more of those individuals, people, who are different in their thoughts, who believe in their personal opinion and have the courage to express it, who question political actions, who change and improve the system by being sceptic, the people who make the difference. The more people are self-reliant, the better the success of the country and of all people. Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” is an excellent essay about the own opinion of a human-being that exactly describes how men have to think about several aspects of life to get as successful as possible, for their nation and themselves.
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