Individuality And Uniqueness In Emerson's Self Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson

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1. In the essay Self Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson addressed the topic of originality and uniqueness to depict the idea that these are the qualities that make people great. Emerson stated that “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represent” in order to argue that each person has a uniqueness because their environments is unique (Emerson 2). The quote infers that every person in society has an ability to possess a unique idea. Every person has a unique idea, which means that every person can become a free thinker. Those who do not act on their thoughts and ideas due to societal rules lose the chance to become unique. Emerson believed that “Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not”, meaning something sparks society to do something, everyone starts doing it but why they do it is lost over time (Emerson 20). The wave of society represents the masses and the water that makes up the wave are the individuals in society. Every person has an ability to possess a divine thought but cannot ferment it because of societal restraints (the wave). Due to the influence of society, one lacks the strength to act on their original thought and follows the crowd. Martin Luther acted on his original thought but thousands of people adopted his thoughts, even though the reasons for his regional thought are no longer present. Instead of creating and following their own ideas, they adopted Luther’s instead. In society, many people follow and imitate well established beliefs, thus leading to the lack of divine thought. In the reading, Emerson came to a conclusion that all people have divine thoughts but cannot act on them because of societal influences.
2. In the reading titled Self Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson addressed the topic of truth and honesty. According to Emerson, one who went “Upright and vital, and speak the rude truth” is unique (Emerson 4). Emerson followed this quote stating that one shall “Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks…though it contradicts everything (Emerson 7).” What Emerson views as a man simply stating his thoughts and ideas can be seen in society as a contradiction in
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