What is the "giant" and how could the traveler rid himself of it?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emerson uses the "giant" as a metaphor for his "sad self" which has sought to find intellectual truth in travel. Emerson has no objection to traveling for the purpose of study, art or helping mankind. But he denounces the use of travel as a "fool's paradise" for those who want to travel in order to imitate foreign culture. He says, "Our houses are build with foreign taste," and the solution is to build our own culture because "the wise man stays at home". So to defeat the "giant" of the "sad self" who wants to imitate others, one must "never imitate" and "insist on yourself". In other words, be self-reliant. Follow the genius of your own mind.

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