Explain the significance of the Emerson quote, "Envy is ignorance.  Imitation is suicide."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The context of Emerson's quote helps to reveal its significance and overall meaning.  Consider the full nature of the idea:

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until...

(The entire section contains 323 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team