Please interpret and critique the following quote from Emerson's "Self-Reliance.""Your miscellaneous popular charities,building of meeting houses to vain end to which many now stand, alms to sots...

Please interpret and critique the following quote from Emerson's "Self-Reliance."

"Your miscellaneous popular charities,building of meeting houses to vain end to which many now stand, alms to sots and thousandfold relief societies."  What did Emerson mean by the above? How would we write a critique on the above?

Asked on by soniesun

5 Answers | Add Yours

Top Answer

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In the essay, just before what you've quoted, Emerson essentially says he'll do anything for the people he feels an affinity towards but... then the stuff you quote.

In general, what he's saying here is that he doesn't value the same things that society values, doesn't believe in the same charities and causes they value.

More specifically, I'd like to comment on a few of the lines above.  As regards the "meeting houses" -- here he's talking about organized religion, which he has little regard for.  The two lines after that show him arguing that too much charity is being given to people who don't deserve it, like drunkards.  So overall, he's sort of listing out some of the things that society supports that he doesn't.

As far as critique goes, if you mean how can we criticize these views, I guess I'd say that they're fairly heartless-sounding and perhaps arrogant.  That's because they imply that he and he alone is right about everything and that other people are pretty much stupid.  But that's really right in line with what Transcendentalists thought -- that you should believe in your own ideas and not really put much stock in what others think.

parama9000's profile pic

parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

He does not value what society sees to be of value or to be of importance.

He can be seen to be arrogant.

alexandriasunshineee's profile pic

alexandriasunshineee | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

 

 

What I know about the introduction to the personal essay:

1. This study explains how to write a PERSONAL essay.

2. The modern essay originated with the writings of Michel de Montaigne

3. Personal writing lets you express your own WORLDVIEW in a way others find interesting.

4. At its root, the personal essay is all about YOU, the author.

5. A PERSONAL ESSAY is an essay written in the first person. It emphasizes a personal, subjective viewpoint by recalling events from the author's life.

6. You want the reader of your personal essay to be INTERESTED.

7. One way to gain your reader's interest is by appealing to a  FAMILIAR  experience.

8. Your personal essay may include a    PERSONAL            situation that presents a conflict.

9.       DRAMA               means "something that presents a conflict."

10.     CRISIS                means "an opposition of two ideas, people, or forces."

11. The three things to avoid while writing a personal essay are    RANTS            ,    CONFESSIONS           , and    SELF                  -  AGGRANDIZING           .

12. You should also avoid    CLICHES                when you write your personal essay.

13. You can use your own style and tone to express   INDIVIDUALITY         in your personal essay.

14. You will need to      EDIT                 your essay to present only the best material.

 

alexandriasunshineee's profile pic

alexandriasunshineee | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

 

What I know about the structure of a personal essay:

1. A personal essay has the same basic five-paragraph  STRUCTURE               as do most other essays.

2. The      INTRO               paragraph begins the personal essay.

3. The two things that the introductory paragraph includes are the HOOK               and the      THESIS              .

4. The       HOOK                grabs the reader's attention.

5. The    THESIS                 is the main point of the essay.

6. The      BODY                 follows the introductory paragraph.

7. The body includes three   SUPPORTING              paragraphs.

8. The supporting paragraphs all share the same basic     STRUCTURE            .

9. Supporting paragraphs begin with a      TOPIC                sentence.

10. The    TOPIC                  sentence is what a supporting paragraph is all about.

11. The     3 SUPPORTING          sentences support the main point of the paragraph.

12. The supporting paragraph ends with a        CLINCHER          sentence. It wraps up the paragraph.

13. The    CONCLUDING             paragraph follows the body in a personal essay.

14. The concluding paragraph      WRAP                        UPS               the essay and    RESTATES              the idea presented in the            TOPIC          sentence.

15. The concluding paragraph ends with the      CLINCHER             sentence.

16. The example concluding paragraph about mustard does two things all good concluding paragraphs do: It      WRAP                  UPS                     the essay and       SUMMARIZES          the supporting paragraphs, and it      RESTATES             the thesis in new words.

17. The concluding paragraph about ketchup and vegans    FAILS                  to do the things a concluding paragraph should do.

18.     TRANSITIONS           are words or sentences that help your reader navigate your essay smoothly.

19. Writers use transitions to guide readers from paragraph to        PARAGRAPH         .

20. To figure out where your writing needs transitions, consider what might potentially confuse your    READER                .

21. Writers also use transitions to guide readers from sentence to sentence within a     PARAGRAPH            .

 

What I know about tools, ideas, and tips for writing a personal essay:

1. An     OUTLINE               is a handy way to visualize the structure of a personal essay.

2. When you try to write vividly, remember to     SHOW                  and not tell.

3. The study gives three tips on how to show instead of tell in your personal essay. Avoid     TO                        BE                    verbs, use        DESCRPITIVE      and        CONCRETE           language, and create and use carefully constructed   DIALOGUE               .

 



alexandriasunshineee's profile pic

alexandriasunshineee | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

 

 

What I know about the introduction to the personal essay:

1. This study explains how to write a PERSONAL essay.

2. The modern essay originated with the writings of Michel de Montaigne

3. Personal writing lets you express your own WORLDVIEW in a way others find interesting.

4. At its root, the personal essay is all about YOU, the author.

5. A PERSONAL ESSAY is an essay written in the first person. It emphasizes a personal, subjective viewpoint by recalling events from the author's life.

6. You want the reader of your personal essay to be INTERESTED.

7. One way to gain your reader's interest is by appealing to a  FAMILIAR  experience.

8. Your personal essay may include a    PERSONAL            situation that presents a conflict.

9.       DRAMA               means "something that presents a conflict."

10.     CRISIS                means "an opposition of two ideas, people, or forces."

11. The three things to avoid while writing a personal essay are    RANTS            ,    CONFESSIONS           , and    SELF                  -  AGGRANDIZING           .

12. You should also avoid    CLICHES                when you write your personal essay.

13. You can use your own style and tone to express   INDIVIDUALITY         in your personal essay.

14. You will need to      EDIT                 your essay to present only the best material.

 

We’ve answered 318,946 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question