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What is the deeper meaning of the quote, "Whoso would be a man...the suffrage of the...

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chanelnerd | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 21, 2011 at 1:58 AM via web

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What is the deeper meaning of the quote, "Whoso would be a man...the suffrage of the world," in "Self-Reliance"?

 

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 21, 2011 at 9:22 AM (Answer #1)

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Here is the full quote:

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

This quote from Emerson's essay, "Self-Reliance," is saying:

In order to be a man—a grown up—he must be willing to turn his back on the world regardless of what the world expects.

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.

To be remembered, a man must gather "immortal palms," and must not be held back by the "name of goodness."

He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

Integrity is born in a person's mind, and nothing else is sacred unless you absolve yourself to who you are. In this way, you will have the support of the world, of mankind...

Emerson states that to believe your own thoughts, and to know that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men—that is genius.

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djm111 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:33 PM (Answer #2)

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I am confused by this quote and by the answers presented here. "Absolve" means to "set or declare (someone) free from blame, guilt, or responsibility." So if you do not judge yourself, or forgive yourself your urges toward nonconformity... so if you accept yourself and do not accept the constraints society wants to put on you, "then you shall have the surfrage of the world." Well, suffrage means vote, so that means support. 

So, if it means by being true to yourself you will have the support of the world - no. How can it? Hawthorne is adamant that unless you support society and deny your own identity, you will not have the support of society.

 I would love to have this clarified for me.

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