Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Self-Reliance Summary & Analysis

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Self-Reliance Summary and Analysis

Emerson extends the individualism and independence ingrained in the American spirit since the Revolutionary War to create a philosophy, or world-view based on self-affirmation. Trust your own intuition and inner thoughts more than the received wisdom of long-deceased prophets and wise men, he says. Emerson deplores philanthropic efforts to recompense the poor and to give them a decent life, and "I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong."

To be a man, one must be a nonconformist, Emerson says. While all the laws, rules and protocols of society were created to provide a modicum of security for the most people, these also tend toward the extinction of the authentic self, the true kernel of divinity and genius that lies below the surface of...

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This section contains 381 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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