• Choose three quotations from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, and explain how each quotation illustrates a different Romantic value.
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    Nothing shows a man’s true inclinations better than the character of those whom he loves.

    This quote reflects Rousseau's Romantic ideas about the state of nature and the purity of character that is indicated by the relationships he develops free from the repression of society.

    I worship freedom; I abhor restraint, trouble, dependence. As long as the money in my purse lasts, it assures my independence; it relieves me of the trouble of finding expedients to replenish it, a necessity which always inspired me with dread; but the fear of seeing it exhausted makes me hoard it carefully. The money which a man possesses is the instrument of freedom; that which we eagerly pursue is the instrument of slavery. Therefore I hold fast to that which I have, and desire nothing.

    This quote addresses the Romantic value that Rousseau was best known for, the idea of the noble savage. Here, Rousseau is speaking about the fact that he is not corrupted or influenced by society as long as he can maintain financial freedom. Going out into the world to make an income would require conforming to society, something he describes as slavery. This is where the idea of being a noble savage comes from.

    I had a tolerably large number of acquaintances, but only two chosen friends, Diderot and Grimm. Owing to the desire, which I always feel, to bring together all who are dear to me, I was so devoted a friend of both, that it was unavoidable that they should soon become equally devoted to each other.

    This quotation describes the Romantic political value of a social contract in that by developing a relationship with one person, you form a contract with them, and therefore they create a contract with others who are already under contract.

    If you need more assistance with your study of Rousseau's Confessions, you should check out the study guide linked below.

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