What does this quote mean from "Self- Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson?Quote: Every heart is tuned to that string.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quote seeks to embrace much of the Transcendentalist philosophy of which Emerson was a part.  This movement sought to develop knowledge and understanding within the individual.  At a time in American History, when industry and commerce was taking a strong hold in America and individuals acted in concert with one another in an almost conformist manner to make money, thinkers like Emerson sought to bring back a sense of individual voice into this discussion.  For Emerson, "Transcendentalism revolves around the self, specifically the betterment of the self."  This was outside of the realm of religion or social acceptance.  The quote bring this idea out.  In it, "that string" is the development of individual identity and hearing one's "voice."  This is a pursuit that is individual, bringing out the idea that each person holds a certain uniqueness that is different from all others.

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Self-Reliance

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