Self-Reliance Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Self-Reliance.
This section contains 1,055 words
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Genius

Emerson begins "Self-Reliance" by defining genius: "To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men—that is genius." Every educated man, he writes, eventually realizes that "envy is ignorance" and that he must be truly himself. God has made each person unique and, by extension, given each person a unique work to do, Emerson holds. To trust one's own thoughts and put them into action is, in a very real sense, to hear and act on the voice of God.

Emerson adds that people must seek solitude to hear their own thoughts, because society, by its nature, coerces men to conform. He goes so far as to call society "a conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members."

Societal Disapproval and Foolish Consistency

Emerson discusses two factors that discourage people from trusting...

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This section contains 1,055 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Self-Reliance Study Guide
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Gale
Self-Reliance from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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