According to Emerson in "Self-Reliance," why do people dismiss their own thoughts?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the father of Transcendentalism, people conform to society and its views instead of trusting themselves and their own ideas.  In doing so, they give up their self-reliance and become reliant on others to "think" for them and to tell them what to do. Emerson stresses that whoever would be a "man"--a person who thinks and does for himself--must not conform to society. This is difficult because human nature dictates that we strive to fit in and contribute to the whole.  Emerson takes a different tact; he writes that if a man will not imitate others and instead trust himself, then his independence and "inconsistency" will benefit the whole in the long-run.  To prove his point, he lists examples of men who dared to think for themselves--Jesus, Socrates, Martin Luther, etc.--and therefore, better society.

2.    FIGURATIVE    language is language that expresses more than just its literal definition.

3. A     PUN     is a play on two or more meanings of a word.

4. A      METAPHOR    makes a comparison between two things without the words like or as.

5. A    SIMILE       makes a comparison between two things using the words like or as.

6.         IRONY          is saying one thing but meaning something else.

7.          HYPERBOLE                 is an intentional exaggeration.

8.  PERSONIFICATION       is giving human qualities to something that's not human.

9.     SATIRE           uses witty language to insult or express dissatisfaction by exposing a person's errors.

10. A     SYMBOL             is one thing or idea that stands for another.

11.       JUXTAPOSITION       is placing two things or words that are opposite or dissimilar next to each other.

12. A  PARADOX   is a statement that seems to contract itself and yet make sense.

13. A    STATEMENT       OF         EQUIVALENCE    is saying that one thing is equal to another.

14. A  PARENTHETICAL     ASIDE   is a statement that appears as an "aside" within a sentence.


What I know about Thoreau and his influence:

1. In real life, Thoreau lived in the cabin for two years. In Walden, he says he lived there for     ONE            YEAR    .

2. It's necessary to     PAY     close      ATTENTION      to Thoreau's writings to get as much as possible out of them.

3. Thoreau spent a night in jail because he did not want to support a government that allowed     SLAVERY     .

4. The three people whom Thoreau influenced were     MOHANDAS         GANDHI     ,    DR.                         MARTIN         LUTHER          KING      JR      , and     RACHEL            CARSON         .


 What I know about Henry David Thoreau's life and background:

1. This study is about    HENRY       DAVID        THOREAUS     and his masterpiece    WALDEN    .

2. Thoreau grew up in and lived most of his life in   CONCORD   ,   MASSACHUSETTS     .

3. Thoreau took an early interest in     NATURE      as a child.

4. A    PUN     is a rhetorical device that introduces more than one meaning of a word or phrase.

5. Thoreau used his    JOURNALS  as the basis for his writings.

6. Thoreau became an educator, echoing the belief that one can   BETLER   oneself through education.

7. Thoreau was once a          SURVEYOR   and he presents      SURVEYING    as a symbol in Walden.

8. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau also worked on the       LECTURE     circuit.

9. Thoreau and    EMERSON    had a complicated relationship.

10. Emerson allowed     THOREAU      to build a cabin on his property near Walden Pond.

11. Thoreau may have fallen deeply in love with the wife of   EMERSON    .

12. Thoreau makes many references to     TIME     in his writing, especially morning and evening.

13.    MORNING     tends to symbolize hope and opportunity in Thoreau's writing.

14.   EVENING      tends to symbolize the closing of opportunity in Thoreau's writing.

15. Thoreau shared many ideas in common with his friend  EMERSON    . Many of these reflected the basic tenants of  TRANSCENDENTALISM   .


What I know about Thoreau's style and use of rhetorical devices:

1. An   ALERT  reader will constantly find new things in the writings of Thoreau. This is because of his use of      FIGURATIVE    language.


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