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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essay by   •  February 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  505 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,799 Views

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Emerson believed that society stripped away all individuality and replaced it with what was socially acceptable. He thought that if you went out and isolated yourself from the rest of society and just lived in nature you would be able to find out who you are and what you are capable of. Ultimately, Emerson did not want his true character tainted by the environment he lived in.

Transcendentalists lived lifestyles that mainly focused on the individual and what a person was capable of accomplishing in their lifetime. It was also believed that the only person who had all the answers was you and in order to figure them out, mistakes had to be made and separation from society needed to occur. Emerson embraced this to the fullest and felt society was the enemy of any human being looking for themselves. He didn’t want to get lost within the crowd and wanted to make sure that he was always true to himself through his writing or any situation. To escape the evils of society, he moved himself away to live in the woods alone since he could maintain his freedom and individuality. Although, this is what he did he did not necessarily want everyone to follow because then he would essentially be creating society. Emerson wanted the various, interesting and unique individuals to make up society and not the converse.

Many people don’t think that society may limit the freedom that one has as a person but transcendentalists like Emerson would be able to see this as soon as they entered themselves into it. Societies create codes that people follow without realizing it, which causes them to blend in with their surroundings instead of being an individual and unique. Emerson was the type of person who wanted to make something of his life and if it meant going against the grain, then so be it. His true goal in life was to find out the person he was and then put towards helping society realize that blending in was not what everyone was suppose to do with their lives. He believed each person has a purpose on this planet and should embrace it and reach their full potential so everyone would be known as an individual not a mob of clones.

Emerson was a man of intellect and self reliance. I agree with Emerson’s position on this because every factor in a person’s life is influenced by the world they live in. The clothes that we wear as well as the things we say are to mirror everyone else in the society because everyone



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