Emerson's Self-Reliance

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Is it just me or does Emerson talk in circles? Am I suppose to get something from this?

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2000


I didn't think that Emerson talked in circles at all. Of course, this is only a matter of opinion. I thought that this short piece was very interesting because it recognizes certain traits that make a person an individual. It makes perfect sense when he says that "Shakespeare will never be make by the study of Shakespeare." Too many people are so driven to become like someone else that they don't allow themselves to become the person who they really are. In the phrase "Traveling is a fool's paradise," I think that this might mean more that taking too many vacations. I think that Emerson is probably saying that a person who "travels" is someone who isn't happy with themself or their surroundings. Take for instance the example of someone not being able to hold a job. They are "traveling" around. Perhaps the person has bad work habits or can't get along with someone. A successful person rarely has these types of characteristics. This is why I think Emerson calles traveling for the fools. There are many other topics which are talked about in the story which probably have a deeper meaning than what is first thought. Just take a while and think about some of these sentences for a minute or so.

-- Anonymous, January 26, 2000

I feel that Emerson does not talk in circles. Although all of his lessons are tied together in a way. He gives you lessons in life to be different. Be your-self, you will not succeed trying to imitate someone else. He states that every great man is unique. He also said what I must do, is all that concerns me, not what the people think. Live your live the way you want to live it.

-- Anonymous, February 01, 2000

I think that it is part of Emerson's view of truth that makes him seem like he is talking in circles. He has a very differnt way of expressing himself and the language of the time is also a hinderence to our generation. I think that Emerson makes some very good points and you are not really looking to "learn" anything from the reading itself other than how he views the concept of self-reliance.

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2000

I think that the things that Emerson said was much more reliable than what Thoreau said. Emerson and Thoreau, although both on the same note, were quite different in their thinking. Emerson spoke of what he felt was to improve a person and that person should not be ashamed of what they think, and it is ok to be misunderstood. Thoreau also felt that you can think differently but you need to make it a point to be misunderstood. Emerson felt that you can do anything to be your own person even if it means setting yourself apart from someone else. He wasn't talking in circles, he had a very specific point, more that what Thoreau or even Franklin said.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2000

At times I found myself thinking that Emerson was going in circles, but I just think that he was trying to stress to the American public that we need to be more independent and worry about ourselves. Emerson wanted individuals to apply to their own actions and beliefs.

-- Anonymous, May 30, 2000

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