Thursday, September 8, 2011

Self Reliance

In Emerson's Self-Reliance, he explains that if you are not independent, then you're not a man.  You do not need anybody to work for you to be independent. If you want to be independent, you need to work for someone else so you can show charity.  In order to be great person is to be misunderstood.  Pythagoras, Socrates, and Luther were all misunderstood, and they were great men during their time. 
Emerson begins this essay by defining the word genius as "to believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men."  You don't have to be a very educated person in order to be considered a genius.  He believes that God created men to be unique, and that he gave us a special purpose to be unique. 
In this essay, Emerson also keeps mentioning to trust yourself.  Two things that discourage people from trusting themselves. One being society disapproval, and the other being foolish consistency.  
This was a very interesting essay because this essay is like Hawthorne's story I read previously because they both don't talk about how to be successful in life and how hard they worked. They are more about feelings and expression within the human. I guess it's just because of the time period.
I have just a few question about the essay.  Why did Emerson write this essay? What kind of audience would read this essay? He also mentioned religion several times within the text. What were his religious views? Did he follow a religion?

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