Emerson Essay, Research Paper

Emerson? s thought of Self Reliance can be compared to the life of Fredrick Douglass. Douglass? life in imprisonment limited his picks for experience and kept him without stuff ownerships. These are two factors considered by Emerson to be of import in obtaining Self Reliance. Emerson? s Self Reliance can besides be contrasted to the life of Fredrick Douglass. Emerson? s belief that all work forces should accept the topographic point they were given in the universe would non be true for Douglass. Fredrick Douglass himself, nevertheless, during his imprisonment used his ain assortment of Self Reliance to last the force and take downing attitudes he was exposed to. Douglass needed to maintain a clear position of his ego throughout his imprisonment in order to maintain his individuality in tact.

& # 8220 ; And so the trust on Property, including the trust on authoritiess which protect it, is the privation of autonomy. Work forces have looked off from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to respect the spiritual, learned, and civil establishments, as guards of belongings, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on belongings. They measure their regard of each other, by what each has, and non by what each is. . .. A political triumph, the rise of rents, the recovery of your ill, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favourable event, raises your liquors, and you think good yearss are fixing for you. Make non believe it. Nothing can convey you peace but yourself. Nothing can convey you peace but the victory of principles. & # 8221 ; ( Emerson ) .

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This choice from the essay Self Reliance, stresses the importance of interrupting off from material ownerships in order to happen what the map of the ego truly is. Emerson believed that people were populating a pre-formulated assortment of life. Peoples did non recognize that the picks they had were truly restricting them. ? Work forces have looked off from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to respect the spiritual, learned, and civil establishments, as guards of belongings, ? These learned, and civil establishments included formal schooling and calling picks.

Emerson believed that if people were non so distracted by the picks that already existed, they would be better able to happen a way in life that was genuinely and unambiguously suited for them.

Harmonizing to the above extract from the essay Self Reliance, Fredrick Douglass, although non of his ain choosing, would already be Self Reliant by the clip he became a free adult male. Douglass? deficiency of stuff ownerships and his basic demand to trust on his ain quick, logical head to last in the rough universe of his captivity would be what leads him into his ulterior calling as an advocator for human rights. Though Douglass? imprisonment was non his lone shaping feature, looking at Douglass? life as a free adult male, Emerson would happen some positive influence from his imprisonment. Once it was called God and now it has no name. If you can non talk so opportunities are you can non believe and if you can non believe so nil moves you. If nil moves you, you have no passions. If you have no passion, you have lost yourself.

? Talk your latent strong belief, and it shall be the cosmopolitan sense ; for the inmost in due clip becomes the outmost, ? ( Emerson ) . Douglass? agony and experience would follow him on the interior until he gained his freedom and was able to compose about it. This shows that Douglass kept a clear position of his individuality even though many picks were either made for him or forced on him. In his narrative, Douglass describes altering his name to mean his freedom, but he chooses to maintain the first name of Fredrick. ? I gave Mr. Johnson the privilege of taking me a name, but I told him he must non take from me the name of? Fredrick? . I must keep on to that, to reserve a sense of my identity. ? ( 113 ) Even though the name Fredrick was associated with his captivity, Douglass chose to maintain it. This illustrates Douglass? strong sense of ego ; his imprisonment was merely every bit much a portion of who he was every bit would be the remainder of his life from here on. This did non intend that he would ever necessitate to be enslaved by the memory of his imprisonment.

Douglass non accepting the life he was born into, contrasts Emerson? s Self Reliance statement. It is obvious that Emerson was non sing the enslaved individual. ? Accept the topographic point the Godhead Providence has found for you, the society of your coevalss, the connexion of

events. Great work forces have ever done so, and confided themselves childlike to the mastermind of their age, be

traying their perceptual experience that the perfectly trustworthy was seated at their bosom, working through their custodies, ruling in all their being. ? ( Emerson ) . If Douglass had non defended himself in the many battles he was involved in, or attempted flight, he would non be as confidently outspoken as he became later in his life. Douglass? mind and his uncomfortableness with his life in bondage is what made his Hagiographas so persuasive. It was non easy for Douglass to maintain the position that he deserved the rights that all work forces had while he was a slave. Even after he became free the memory was still following him. ? It was a terrible cross, and I took it up reluctantly. The truth was. I felt myself a slave, and the thought of speaking to white people weighed me down. I spoke but a few minutes, when I felt a grade of freedom, and said what I desired with considerable ease. ? ( 117 ) Douglass? ferocious appreciation on his individuality while in imprisonment helped him to divide himself from that life, while he was populating it and even after he became free.

Douglass himself used a different sort of Self Reliance during his captivity. Douglass could non cognize who he could swear since most of import information was kept from the slaves. This led Douglass to hold a deep trust in himself. This trust would assist him divide himself from the universe of captivity so he would non be doomed to populate bondage as a dominant metaphor for his individuality. Douglass writes in his narration: ? I day of the month the amusement of a deep strong belief that bondage would non ever be able to keep me within its disgusting embracing? ( 43 ) . This is proof that even as a slave, Douglass did non believe his individuality was enslaved.

Douglas describes the type of personal information that was kept from the slaves: ? By far the larger portion of slaves know as small of their ages as Equus caballuss know of theirs, and it is the want of most Masterss within my cognition, to maintain their slaves therefore ignorant. ? ( 19 ) This choice shows that he could non swear the plantation proprietors and superintendents to even give him basic information about his individuality. The logic here must hold been that if the slaves knew small of themselves they would non hold aspirations to be something better than a slave. Douglass had to happen out this kind of information on his ain, by being watchful and surmising that something was incorrect. ? The nearest estimation I can give makes me now between 27 and 28 old ages of age. I come to this from hearing my maestro say sometime during 1835, I was about 17 old ages old. ? ( 19 ) .

Douglass besides needed to believe he was deserving plenty as a individual in order to support himself in physical battles. Many slaves did non support themselves because the effects were either to be beaten, killed or to be sold to another plantation, far from household and friends. Douglass was non even content plenty in his life as a slave to non put on the line these horrors. After the first peculiarly barbarous battle Douglass describes, he writes: ? My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardliness departed and bold rebelliousness took its topographic point ; and I now resolved that, nevertheless long I might stay a slave in signifier, the twenty-four hours had passed everlastingly when I could be a slave in fact. ? ( 83 ) . This transition shows that Douglass has vowed to protect himself from the force he did non believe was fair against him. He did non believe that in his hereafter he would go on to be a slave, so from this point, he stopped believing of himself as a slave. This was an of import measure in Douglass? realisation of his ego. In comparing with Emerson? s construct of Self Reliance, Douglass was projecting aside the

way that was chosen for him. Though he did non yet have the freedom to to the full take control of his ain way in life, from this point he knows he will acquire at that place. ? Work forces have looked off from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to respect the spiritual, learned, and civil establishments, as guards of belongings, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property. ? ( Emerson ) In Douglass? instance the? thing? was his attitude toward his captivity.

Self Reliance, as Emerson wrote of it can non be used in the instance of every life. The enslaved individual seems to hold non been considered in Emerson? s construct of Self Reliance. Though some facets of Emerson? s construct can be related to the life of Fredrick Douglass, there is a different sort of autonomy that must be followed in order to last in imprisonment as a slave. Douglass needed to trust on his ain senses and his ain head to transport him through his ordeal and stop up with a sense of individuality.


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