We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Self-Reliance Outline

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 619
  • Category: Reliance

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

In “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson clearly displays many romantic values through his hope for man to trust themselves, his hope for non-conformity like in children, and the great value he puts into individuality and hard work. Emerson exhibits romantic values in “Self-Reliance” hoping that man will trust themselves, leading to true genius. To begin with, Emerson believes a true genius is one who speaks his own true heart.

A true Romantic belief, as Emerson puts it, is to “Trust thyself” (p.534). “To believe your own heart” (533) and express those beliefs, “that is true genius” (533). Emerson displays his belief that a deep connection with one’s self helps more than a high IQ. Second, Emerson gives example of geniuses that went against the status quo of their people. Emerson explains to his readers that “Moses, Plato, and Milton” (533), all men whom the people respected as geniuses of their times, “spoke not what men but what they thought” (533).

Much like other Romantics, Emerson believes that only men true to themselves will be divine enough “to exhibit anything divine” (533). Lastly, he believes a genius keeps true to his own beliefs even among non-believers. A great man must think that “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people” (536). If a man truly trust himself, leading to his spark of genius, than he “who in the midst of the crowd keep with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Emerson displays his hatred of conformity and the lack of conformity in children, proving his romantic values. First of all, Emerson displays the non-conformity of children and the excellence of it. “Infancy conforms to nobody” (535), yet all other people conform to the majority. Men lose their individualism and children become “the master of society independent, irresponsible” (534). Although men try to act as good people, a man’s “goodness must have some edge to it” (535), meaning that the motivation for kindness must try come from one’s self and not the laws of the world. Second, Emerson hopes to prove the problem with conformity to adults and later on push for the non-conformity of adults.

For men who conform to society, Emerson feels that “your conformity explains nothing” (5380 and that “every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right.” (535). Man carries no confidence and “dares not say ‘I think,’ ‘I am,’ but quotes some saint or sage” (541).When man conforms he “shall be sure to be misunderstood” (538). Man cannot allow this to continue because “no law can be sacred to me but that of my nature” (535).

Every true man is a cause” (539), but if man continues to conform he shall have no cause. Emerson acknowledges the difficulty of non-conformity because with independence, “the world whips you with its displeasure” (537), but tell man that if he will, “do your thing, and I shall know you. Do your work and you shall reinforce yourself” (536). Lastly, at the same time, Emerson also shows the glory of men in non-conformity. One “cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time” (541) so they must let go of non-conformity so that “where he is, there is nature” (539).

I. Emerson demonstrates his romantic ideals through his value of one’s individual thoughts and how hard work trumps a great mind.

A. Emerson voices his thoughts that one hears that people conceive as genius that he may have already thought of, but didn’t voice.

B. Next, Emerson tells all that as long as one stays within his true nature, his true work is real genius.

C. Finally, Emerson tells all that everyone remains a true genius as long as they stay true to their own nature.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59