Self Reliance and Other Essays
Imitation in Self-Reliance: A Paradox? College
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a highly acclaimed philosopher, among other achievements. With a firm transcendentalist mindset, Emerson wrote a number of essays dedicated to the transcendentalist movement of the 19th century; one of which was Self-Reliance. In this thought-provoking text, Emerson expresses his opinions on a number of topics which revolve around the subject of “self-reliance” in an oracular and authoritative manner. His self-assured statements therefore may come off as unreasonable at times, and even contradictory. This essay will look into two quotes from Self-Reliance which appear to be inconsistent with one another, and then attempt to harmonize the two by examining Emerson’s messages in depth.
One of the major topics Emerson discusses in Self-Reliance is “imitation” and how this negatively affects civilisation. It is brought to light in the second paragraph of his entire essay, and from the very first line of which readers are able to discern his views on the matter, as he straightforwardly writes, “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction … that imitation is suicide.” In very simple words Emerson conveys his standpoint. He goes on to elaborate on the ignorance of imitation,...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1368 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10111 literature essays, 2558 sample college application essays, 491 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in