I'm a (Sick) Self-Reliant Author in Progress

Greetings earthlings! Here are my Self-Reliance notes. It's very late at night right now, and I REALLY should be sleeping, but I told myself that I'd have this up in time. What I did was I read through everything and picked quotes and phrases that interested me or that showed Emerson's main idea. I added my own little commentary on each phrase as well. Hopefully my notes will help you understand this complicated ass essay :)))))))


1. "Ne te quaeseveris extra" - Do not look for yourself outside
     - Do not try to conform to what society wants you to be. Be yourself

2. "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide..."
     - Imitation is suicide because, in a way, a person is killing his/her opinions about something.
     - conviction = a firmly held belief or opinion
     - Envy is ignorance because if someone envies someone else, he/she is blind to his/her own beauty.

3. "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..."
     - Every person holds a type of power, but nobody will know about your power (could be the power to change the world, maybe?) until you are willing to... like... let it show. Does that make sense? Do y'all get me?

4. "So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand by itself."
     - God has given every person his/her own charm and it's up to them to stay true to themselves, even when there are a lot of things that can influence a person into behaving a certain way or thinking a certain way.

5. "He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you..."
     - This relates to what he said about infancy; it does not confirm to us. We conform to it. We conform to things that go against society's ideals. This boy he is talking about doesn't care about the consequences of being himself, thus making everyone conform to him.

6. "These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world."
     - We aren't afraid to be ourselves when no one is watching, but when we are out in the real world, we become different people. We are afraid of being judged for who we are and for our opinions, and Emerson wants up to stop thinking that way.

7. "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness."
     - The first sentence is pretty self-explanatory. Some of the greatest people that have ever lived were people that didn't do what others wanted.

8. "The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them."
     - We are scared to trust ourselves because people will bring up things from the past in an effort to bring us down.

9. "Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them"
     - As the wave (society) moves onward, some of the water (people) gets 'left behind'. The people that get left behind, from what I understood, are people that will die soon. When Emerson says that people's experiences die, he means that those experiences will be forgotten eventually.

Goodness gracious I don't know where to begin. I think I did pretty well with the short response test we took on Thursday. Self-Reliance was a pain in the ass to read, mainly because I didn't agree with a lot of it and because the language Emerson uses is hard to understand. I notice that when I write, it takes me multiple sentences to say what could be expressed in one; I wanna know how to fix that. Something else that's kinda related to this is the fact that when I write, I have a general idea of what I want to say but I struggle putting it into words. That's always very frustrating because I'll be sitting in class for seemingly years trying to figure out how to express what I want to say. I hope that I expressed everything I wanted to say clearly on the test.



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