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“Self Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson. What do you think? What kind of impact did this essay have on you? Share reactions.

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Presentation on theme: "“Self Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson. What do you think? What kind of impact did this essay have on you? Share reactions."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Self Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson

2 What do you think? What kind of impact did this essay have on you? Share reactions

3 Which does Emerson value more – original thought or traditional wisdom? He values original thought. “imitation is suicide” “Whose would be a man, must be a nonconformist”

4 According to Emerson, which virtue does society demand most – truth, conformity, creativity, or self- reliance? Conformity “For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure”

5 What is the only law that Emerson says can be sacred to him? His own nature “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature” Emerson believed in the basic goodness of humans, that they would do the right thing if given the chance to make their own decisions.

6 Summarize Emerson’s main ideas Do your own thing –“imitation is suicide” Trust your own ideas –“Trust thyself” –“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist” –“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature” –“What I must do is all that concerns me”

7 Summarize Emerson’s main ideas (cont.) It’s hard to be a nonconformist –“For nonconformity the world whips you” –“the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude Don’t let consistency keep you from trusting yourself –“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

8 Describe parts of your own life in which Emerson’s ideas might apply Nonconformity Disregard for consistency Peer pressure

9 If you had heard this essay as a public lecture, what questions would you have liked to ask Emerson directly about his philosophy?

10 Bonus: identify at least two aphorisms from this essay.

11 Transcendentalist Literature Chart

12 Self-reliance/intuition Title: “Self-Reliance” “Trust thyself” “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature”

13 Importance of nature Human nature “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature”

14 Free thought and expression “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist” “Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again”

15 Importance of individual/nonconformity “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.” “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.” “…the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude….”

16 Confidence “Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.”


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