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Paper Topic:

An Analysis Of Ralph Waldo Emerson`s Essay `Self-Reliance`

An Analysis Of Ralph Waldo Emerson`s Essay `Self-Reliance`

2006

Ralph Waldo Emerson 's essay Self-Reliance is a great self-help source the goal of which is to promote transcendentalism and simultaneously help the reader understand and follow transcendental beliefs Self-Reliance serves for Emerson as a way to expresses his beliefs feelings , attitudes , and arguments that defend his views on religion education , art , and society described in the essay . Advocating his argumentation , Emerson delivers a number of vivid examples and at the same time develops the proof for his understanding of reason 's

uses to question what we are perceived to know . Concluding the essay Emerson asserts that greater self-reliance will result in a revolution . After he links this theory to society and all of its aspects , including religion , education , and art

In the first passage Emerson represents his revolutionary religious beliefs and moreover aims to discount the practice of prayer and creeds . Emerson writes "Prayer that craves a particular commodity anything less than all good , is vicious (Robinson 102 . Through this phrase he is basically announcing his abhorrence for the religious nature man has come to have and his opinion that we should not pray for things we can attain on our own . He goes on to say "But prayer as a means to affect a private end is meanness and theft . It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness (Robinson 102 . He is equating prayer with begging to God and believes it is not needed when you become one with God and therefore can see prayer in all productive actions . Prayer for Emerson creates a distinction between himself and God and does not allow for the self to become one with nature and consciousness . He also critiques man 's practice of creeds and he believes the practice of one negates all others and vice versa He says creeds are "a disease of the intellect (Robinson 103 . Whereas prayer is a disease of the will , creeds perform a habitual complacency in the life of man which allows only for the teachings of one particular idea . This is intellectual death for Emerson . To not only have to believe and participate in something prescribed for you by someone else but having to conform to a prescribed lifestyle and way of thought destroys the individuality and originality man possesses

In the second numerated passage Emerson challenges the realm of Classical Education and the way wealthy New Englanders regard such old world education as being the best . For years Americans had been sending their prestigious young men overseas to be immersed in the classic culture and regionalism Europe offers . This is objected to by Emerson for the reason that everything you need is inside you . History is your history culture is your culture art is your art beauty is your beauty , etc . He says "The soul is no traveler the wise man stays at home , and when his necessities , his duties , on any occasion call him from his house , or into foreign lands...

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