Essay on On Self-Reliance: Emerson

Essay on On Self-Reliance: Emerson

Length: 867 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

On “Self-Reliance:” Emerson


“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To believe in your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men—that is genius.” This quote is a summary of what Emerson, as well as the Transcendentalists of the time, believed in. Emerson encompasses a lot of different ideas in his essay “Self-Reliance.” He writes about a man’s genius, self-expression, conformity, society, virtues, man’s nature, and what it actually is to be self-reliant. So what does it mean to be self-reliant? Can we truly be self-reliant? Or do we have to rely on other people in order to live our lives happily and healthfully? In this essay, I will go over what Emerson thought it was to be self-reliant, what I think about his essay, and what it actually means to be self-reliant (if self-reliance is even possible).
“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 or for worse as his portion…” In this quote, I recognize envy as a weakness of mine. I think that everyone has the experience of being envious or jealous. For instance, I myself feel envious quite often. I am always jealous of the prettier girl, the skinnier girl, the person with better grades, or the person who has more friends. In the moment, I always let envy swallow me up, and I start to base the way I live off of that. After reading “Self-Reliance,” I have been in the act of prying envy’s clenched jaws open, and escaping from that, which controls my life. I find that I can use envy positively, and make myself strive to do better, and also appreciate what I...


... middle of paper ...


...er, the middle, and the lower classes. The rich may live in nice houses, with fancy cars, and probably have some political power, or some power over other people in general. The middle class may also live in nice houses, but maybe can’t afford the fancy car, or the expensive clothing. The lower class might live in rental housing in a not-so-good neighborhood, ride public transportation or have an old, or no car, may rely on government assistance for food or healthcare and acquires clothes through donations or second-hand shops. Then the wave moves on, and the water is still there. I think that this represents the fact that at the end, we are all people.
The essay “Self-Reliance” has really helped me decide “Am I or am I not?” It has helped me see my “inner light” and now I strive to do better, and to reach that unattainable goal of finding my aboriginal self.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Emerson 's Self Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous essayist of the Romantic Era, helped to lead the transcendentalist movement with his essays describing individualism: “Nature,” “Self-Reliance,” and “Each and All.” “Self-Reliance,” specifically, portrays the idea of the transcendentalist movement through breaking away from the norms of society, for one must make his own decisions. Emerson explains that people should not rely on knowledge provided by others; instead, they should make their decisions based on personal experiences and thoughts....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Belief]

Better Essays
703 words (2 pages)

The Arrogant Emerson and Self-Reliance Essay

- The Arrogant Emerson and Self-Reliance "To believe your own thought, to believe that which is true for you in your private heart is true for all men-that is genius" (Self-Reliance and Other Essays, 19). This statement from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson provides a summary of the ideas that transcendentalism centered around. Emerson believed that man is innately good, and that if he were left to his own devices without the structures of society and laws boxing him in, he would create a utopian society very different from the one Emerson lived in....   [tags: Self Reliance Essays]

Better Essays
1211 words (3.5 pages)

Trust in Emerson's Self-Reliance Essay

- Trust yourself, your intuition, and your nature. According to Emerson's Self-Reliance, these qualities are essential to contentment and harmony with one's self. Self-reliance is an appeal to the individual to obey his instincts and to challenge tradition and conventional wisdom. According to Emerson, those who are truly self-reliant have the ability to mark their place in history as great and genuinely creative men. Emerson urges the reader to live by his instinct and listen to his intuition, "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string." Don’t fear your original thoughts, trust them and live accordingly....   [tags: Self Reliance Essays]

Free Essays
617 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self Reliance

- Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self Reliance" Ralph Waldo Emerson believes he writes quite the persuading argument in 'Self-Reliance.' Wielding his pen as if it were Excalibur, he vies to stimulate and challenge the down-trodden mind in his classic work on the American Spirit. His lines are affecting, romantic, and hypnotic, especially at the first reading; his thoughts on the page beget inspiration for the reader. 'Self-Reliance' has its value in its boldness, its construction, and mature attitudes toward consistency and failure....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson Reliance Essays]

Better Essays
1425 words (4.1 pages)

Self Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- It is not a crime to want to be like other people, to fit in with the popular kids, to be accepted into society with all its glory, or is it. One of America’s most influential writer and thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson – in his essay, Self-Reliance - has a unique opinion on the idea of one’s desire to model another’s respectable actions. He believes that all people should look into themselves and follow their own heart instead of trying to be like everyone else. Emerson’s well thought out figurative language, innovative rhetorical strategies, and remarkable style helps him show the people his individualistic approach....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Individualism, Idea]

Better Essays
701 words (2 pages)

Essay on On Self-Reliance: Emerson

- On “Self-Reliance:” Emerson “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string” --Ralph Waldo Emerson “To believe in your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men—that is genius.” This quote is a summary of what Emerson, as well as the Transcendentalists of the time, believed in. Emerson encompasses a lot of different ideas in his essay “Self-Reliance.” He writes about a man’s genius, self-expression, conformity, society, virtues, man’s nature, and what it actually is to be self-reliant....   [tags: literary analysis, literary criticism]

Better Essays
867 words (2.5 pages)

Is Complete Self-Reliance Possible? Essay

- Self-Reliance - Is Complete Self-Reliance Possible. If you are self-reliant then you don’t need to depend on anyone. That is the obvious message that Emerson is trying to convey in his essay "Self-Reliance". It seems as though Emerson believes that we all need to be individuals and put ourselves before anyone else. However, the real question is “is it possible to be totally self-reliant”. After re-reading Self-Reliance I feel as though this question really can’t be answered. Emerson gives us a very confusing argument that seems to run around in circles with no apparent end in sight....   [tags: Emerson's Self Reliance Essays]

Free Essays
939 words (2.7 pages)

Emerson - Self - Reliance Essay

- In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, he states that being an individual comes from trusting yourself and being honest with the person you are inside. He describes how a person is and becomes an individual by explaining all the different parts that consist of an individual. To be an individual you have to have trust in yourself. You need to accept the person that you truly are inside. Everyone is born possessing everything they need to become an individual; you just need to learn how to utilize the things you have....   [tags: Free Essays]

Free Essays
387 words (1.1 pages)

Self-Reliance by Ralph Emerson Essay example

- Self-Reliance by Ralph Emerson Dear Editor I have recently read Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and with ample time to analyze the passages I have come to the conclusion that even though it was written before our generation it still applies to it fully. Society today has set the laws for both moral behavior, and social behavior. The current generation, just like every one before it, has followed these laws of society like a dumb, but innocent, flock of sheep. I believe it is now time for the public to be aware of its actions....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
439 words (1.3 pages)

Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” Essay

- 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 thi...   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Better Essays
829 words (2.4 pages)