Essay on Emerson

1436 Words 6 Pages
In Emerson's Self-Reliance we see the crowning work of the transcendentalist movement. In this piece Emerson explains his belief in the innate divinity of man and defines our "Self-Reliance" as the broad identity in which we personally participate. Emerson challenges his readers to not conform to traditional practices in a variety of realms. However, he punctuates just four aspects of these challenges to tradition and they are: religion, education, art, and society. I found these passages to be the best representatives of Emerson's ideology due to their poignancy and numbered paragraphs. He talks of these challenges to man as revolutions due to a greater self-reliance. The profoundness of thought in this piece is surprising to …show more content…
     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 traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home. . ." (Robinson 104). He is emphasizing the idea that all which makes up a man, all which defines him, is in his immediate and homebound presence and therefore resides within him wherever he goes. He believes in the benefit of travel "for the purposes of art, of study, and benevolence. . ." (Robinson 104), but as for one who is traveling to acquire or attain that which he does not have, Emerson says we travel away from ourselves and in our search we carry only "ruins to ruins" (Robinson 104). The end of this passage was especially interesting to me. He talks of his travel from home envisioning beauty and losing his sadness. However, when he physically arrives
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