Ralph Waldo Emerson Was an Accomplished Novelist and Essay Writer

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  Ralph Waldo Emerson was an accomplished novelist and essay writer. In his famous essay titled „Self Reliance” he uses many rhetorical strategies like pathos, tone, and metaphors to appeal to the readers emotions, convey how he feels, and to clearly explain what he is writing about. “Self Reliance” was written in 1841, around the time of transcendentalism, so Emerson could express his feelings on individualism and being true to oneself. The eighteenth paragraph of Emerson‟s “Self Reliance” shows all of these strategies. He starts by saying “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.” In this sentence he uses pathos and a metaphor to explain how he feels about individuality. The first example of pathos in this paragraph is when he says “he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance.” By saying this he tells us that if you were to be jealous of someone for any reason it would be foolish because you should not be concerned about what other people have and focus on being the best individual you can be. He restates the same idea when he says “imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion.” Emerson  then uses a metaphor to further explain his idea when he says “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.” He is saying that who you are should only be a result of what you wanted to become and not a result of what others have molded you to be. He goes on to say “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 he has tried.” Emerson uses pathos in  this sentence to make you feel like you can be whoever you want to be as long as you are true to yourself. He then uses even more pathos in saying “not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray.” He tells us that we can still be inspired by the ideas and accomplishments of others, as long as we don ‟t strive to be just like the person that inspires us. Instead, we need use our inspiration to set goals for ourselves to help mold us into the person we want to become. Emerson then says “we but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.” He is telling us that we do not always express ourselves to the extent that we should because we are often ashamed in our beliefs. Emerson seems to write this sentence with more authority than the others. By doing this, he strongly conveys this idea which he obviously thought was very important. Throughout the rest of the paragraph Emerson uses pathos to drive home some of his main  ideas about individualism by saying “it may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.”  
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