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I assume you are reading the edited version as given in the Holt textbook, Elements of Literature. You might find it helpful to try and read through each paragraph yourself and then summarise the key ideas before looking at these suggestions. A summary, of course, cannot hope to capture all the ideas but will just give you a flavour of the text. Anyway, here are my suggestions of how to summarise the selection - there are five paragraphs in total.
1) People eventually come to realise that they have to be self-sufficient and that they will find happiness when they have done their best in their work.
2) People need to have faith in themselves and in their place in the world.
3) Society acts against the self-reliance of individuals.
4) To be a proper person, you need to find your own way in the world and not conform to society.
5) Consistency prevents people from exploring and fulfilling their own potential.
Having read these, it would be well worth your time to go back and read the selection again to see if these provide hooks to further your understanding of what Emerson was writing about. Good luck!
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