What are the transcendental elements in Emerson's "Self-Reliance"?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Transcendentalism sprung from Romanticism (Idealism) which focuses on individualism. The title of Emerson's "Self-Reliance" stresses individualism, and Emerson continues that theme by focusing on the importance of non-conformity. Near the end of the essay, he lists examples of historical figures whom he viewed as non-conformists (or individualists), men such as Socrates, Jesus, and Galileo.

"Self-Reliance" also promotes relative truth which is a tenet of Transcendentalism. Emerson wants his readers and listeners to seek truth for themselves, to constantly study the world around and to be open to changing their views of what is true.

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