Self Reliance Rhetorical Analysis

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In his 1841 essay Self Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson asserts that everyone should seek confidence in life and purpose and avoid conformity. Emerson develops his claim by first exploiting individuals desire to fit in with society, then uses aphorisms, repetition and metaphors stating that being yourself is more satisfying, even if there is a scarier outcome. He uses an intimate tone primarily directed towards the people who still have yet to find themselves. Emerson starts the essay by stating “there is a time in an individual’s education when they arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance…” (1) the rhetorical devices that were used by Emerson effectively conveyed his thoughts towards being or trying to become someone one isn’t. He feels…show more content…
Emerson’s tone voices his strong dislike towards individuals that are afraid to express their own thoughts and ideas because of the pressure to fit in with society or are afraid of rejection. The diction he uses in the sentence also adds a great deal to the effects of the tone and its message he gives. Emerson also influences the way individuals view themselves. He wants people to come to the realization that ultimately only the individual can depend on themselves in many situations. Emerson states, "None but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried"(1). He also wants us to realize that people will make mistakes but will learn from them. However, they must not dwell on past mistakes. Instead, they should focus on their confidence for future decisions. Emerson states “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do”. He is stating that people change over time and sometimes we have a fear of saying something or behaving in a way that disagrees with or contradicts our formal self. Great minds don’t let that fear get in their way. Genius shouldn’t be sacrificed for…show more content…
Their success will depend on the resilience, intelligence and self-assurance they have within themselves. Once one considers less social outcome of their actions and considers more the personal result, they will become more apt to discover what they are looking for; “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think”(4), it is a meaning of life. Emerson explains the lagging growth of the conception of ideas and thoughts of his generation; “To be great it to be misunderstood” (5). Original ideas where and still are to this day scorned by those who believe the best method for learning can only be performed in a single way. When someone comes up with a great groundbreaking idea, it is generally disregarded because so called ‘experts’ do not agree with it. This is because society has been taught only one thing, and they are scared to believe anything opposite of that. Therefore anyone who dares to be different is rejected because he is

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