History[ edit ] The first hint of the philosophy that would become "Self-Reliance" was presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson as part of a sermon in September a month after his first marriage. Richardson wrote, "Immortality had never been stronger or more desperately needed! These lectures were never published separately, but many of his thoughts in these were later used in "Self-Reliance" and several other essays. This new philosophy drew upon old ideas of Romanticism, Unitarianism, and German Idealism.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Certainly self-reliance is economic and social in Walden Pond: Thus Thoreau dwells on the contentment of his solitude, on his finding entertainment in the laugh of the loon and the march of the ants rather than in balls, marketplaces, or salons.
He does not disdain human companionship; in fact he values it highly when it comes on his own terms, as when his philosopher or poet friends come to call. He simply refuses to need human society. Similarly, in economic affairs he is almost obsessed with the idea that he can support himself through his own labor, producing more than he consumes, and working to produce a profit.
Thoreau does not simply report on the results of his accounting, but gives us a detailed list of expenditures and income. How much money he spent on salt from to may seem trivial, but for him it is not.
Rather it is proof that, when everything is added up, he is a giver rather than a taker in the economic game of life. In Transcendentalist thought the self is the absolute center of reality; everything external is an emanation of the self that takes its reality from our inner selves.
This duality explains the connection between Thoreau the accountant and Thoreau the poet, and shows why the man who is so interested in pinching pennies is the same man who exults lyrically over a partridge or a winter sky. They are both products of self-reliance, since the economizing that allows Thoreau to live on Walden Pond also allows him to feel one with nature, to feel as though it is part of his own soul.
The Value of Simplicity Simplicity is more than a mode of life for Thoreau; it is a philosophical ideal as well. Thoreau looks around at his fellow Concord residents and finds them taking the first path, devoting their energies to making mortgage payments and buying the latest fashions. He prefers to take the second path of radically minimizing his consumer activity.
Thoreau patches his clothes instead of buying new ones and dispenses with all accessories he finds unnecessary. For Thoreau, anything more than what is useful is not just an extravagance, but a real impediment and disadvantage.
He builds his own shack instead of getting a bank loan to buy one, and enjoys the leisure time that he can afford by renouncing larger expenditures.
Ironically, he points out, those who pursue more impressive possessions actually have fewer possessions than he does, since he owns his house outright, while theirs are technically held by mortgage companies.
It contains witticisms, double meanings, and puns that are not at all the kind of New England deadpan literalism that might pass for literary simplicity. Despite its minimalist message, Walden is an elevated text that would have been much more accessible to educated city-dwellers than to the predominantly uneducated country-dwellers.
The Illusion of Progress Living in a culture fascinated by the idea of progress represented by technological, economic, and territorial advances, Thoreau is stubbornly skeptical of the idea that any outward improvement of life can bring the inner peace and contentment he craves.
In an era of enormous capitalist expansion, Thoreau is doggedly anti-consumption, and in a time of pioneer migrations he lauds the pleasures of staying put.
In a century notorious for its smugness toward all that preceded it, Thoreau points out the stifling conventionality and constraining labor conditions that made nineteenth-century progress possible.In "Self-Reliance," philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson argues that polite society has an adverse effect on one's personal growth.
Self-sufficiency, he writes, gives one the freedom to discover one's. Self-Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson \Ne te quaesiveris extra." \Man is his own star; and the soul that can other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense Self-reliance is its aversion.
It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
Self Reliance and Other Essays Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for Self Reliance and Other Essays is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Published first in in Essays and then in the revised edition of Essays, "Self-Reliance" took shape over a long period of ashio-midori.comhout his life, Emerson kept detailed journals of his thoughts and actions, and he returned to them as a source for many of his essays.
Published first in in Essays and then in the revised edition of Essays, "Self-Reliance" took shape over a long period of ashio-midori.comhout his life, Emerson kept detailed journals of his thoughts and actions, and he returned to them as a source for many of his essays.
Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Importance of Self-Reliance. Four years before Thoreau embarked on his Walden project, his great teacher and role model Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an enormously influential essay entitled “Self-Reliance.”.