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Rhetorical Analysis Of Emerson's Speech

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In present time, everybody sees the United States as a country whom you should fear, as a country whom you should respect, as a country whom you should trust; but what would you do if you realized, or learn, that the United States was not always as powerful as it is now. Would you believe such a thing? Or will you be as supportive as the rest of the various echelons of society and believe it has always been this almighty powerful being or country that has always being feared and admired by the rest. If you went ahead and chose the second option, you took the wrong decision. Would you believe that the United States lived under the shadow of European countries many years ago? There was a time where America had the potential to become powerful,…show more content…
Emerson evokes this sense of empathy with the audience through the use of pathos. Emerson kept in mind through the speech the necessity to emotionally attach himself to the audience in order to get their attention. As he evoked this familiarity with the audience this allowed his message to be more comprehendible or feel more relatable towards it. That was not the sole purpose of the employment of pathos through the speech. Once again, this speech is intended to make people realize that they must free themselves intellectually. They cannot live their lives mimicking what others said. “There is never a beginning, there is never an end, to the inexplicable continuity of this web of God, but always circular power returning into itself” (Emerson 2). In this quote, Emerson indirectly shows how nature is also emotionally attached to the audience. There is a pattern that the United States society has been following that goes on and on and leads to no improvement. That is what Emerson meant when he said “but always circular power returning into itself.” A loop followed by the Americans mind intellectual nature and which they do not realized they are stuck within it. In order to achieve their freedom of thought, freedom to express one’s own desires, and freedom to speak your ideas and not other’s idea is only reachable breaking the loop the society found itself stuck on. The…show more content…
During the time “The American Scholar” was written, United States was undergoing a period in time where even though independent from other countries, people’s beliefs where still under European influence. Freedom of thought did exist, freedom of speech as well; but not a single person advocated for this right. Most where afraid of doing such a thing, and that is where Ralph Waldo Emerson emerged. His speech originally meant only to be heard by a small amount of people, ended up being published and eventually was heard through the whole country. The thoughtful tone Emerson put into the speech made the message it was trying to transmit clearer to the audience. Emerson found himself engulfed in unpopular beliefs that not any person could see through. The masses could not see through the thick fog that obstructed their intellectual behavior from developing. The masses had been influenced by others beliefs to the point they could barely develop their own criteria. Emerson took such a thoughtful attitude that he went ahead and even explained in his speech that the basis of human intellect lies on something that looks so simple as nature, but at the end its more complex than what it looks like. The need for intellectual independence was something Emerson needed to communicate the society about.
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