Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Gifts Summary & Analysis

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Gifts Summary and Analysis

Giving gifts to others is far more complex than it appears, according to Emerson. The best gift is always something that comes directly from and reflects the giver, and that acknowledges an essential truth about the receiver. Fancy jewelry and rings, because they represent only the skill and work of the jeweler, are not gifts "but apologies for gifts," Emerson says. It is especially difficult to find the right gift for a man, hardened as they all are to be independent. Most people at some level cannot forgive a giver because it smacks of dependency. But we are able to receive any kind of gift of love, "for that is a way of receiving it from ourselves," Emerson says. The preacher/philosopher says he admires and believes the Buddhist axiom: "Do not flatter your benefactors." This brief essay seems to reflect...

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This section contains 166 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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