Analysis Of Ralph Waldo Emerson 's Self Reliance

Decent Essays
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a loyal follower of transcendentalism and writer of several debatable essays, supports the idea of one following his or her own conscience instead of the restrictions of society’s mind. Transcendentalism, an American philosophical movement, takes place in the Nineteenth Century in which transcendentalists break free from the chains bounding them to the repetition of thought and action. In his essay, “Self-Reliance,” he asserts the importance of independent thinking, gives clear and concise examples of independent thinkers, and trusting oneself. I agree with Emerson’s emphasis on thinking with initiative in “Self-Reliance” when he conveys the importance of nonconformity because independent self-trust advances society. Emerson believes that fear of others’ misunderstanding holds one back from thinking with without consistency. The general public has “no other data for computing” other than “past acts” (Emerson 3). The comparison of thinking to “computing” implies the act of thinking as a rote activity without change. Although looking upon “past acts” may help better plan for the future, Emerson infers that these people look on these past acts only to repeat them without modification. Emerson further warns, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” (3). Regarding consistency as “foolish” and the negative connotation it carries conveys his strong opinion against it. A “hobgoblin” causes superstitious fear, while at the same time this
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