Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog #4 Emerson

"I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim." Is he referencing Martin Luther? 

"All men have my blood, and I have all men's." I found this sentence to confuse me a bit because he talks about being your own person and not being affliated with "poor men," but then says that he has the blood of all men. 

While reading this excerpt I found myself slightly cheering him on as if he were preaching. I almost wanted to start clapping my hands. Some arguments that he presented I did not agree with though, but some of them I did. For example, when he was talking about these groups of people/charities that would ask him for money or whatever, he said that he would succumb sometimes, but basically called it a dirty dollar.       "-though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have the manhood to withhold." 

The title of the text really tells it all. Self-Reliance, individualism, etc. As a transcendentalists he believed in the inner knowledge that made him almost better than others? At least that it was I took away from it. Not necessarily that he felt he was better then others, but that he and others that believed this concept as well were at a higher thinking capacity then the others who did not believe this way. 

In this work it felt as if he were fighting for people to see the world how he see's the world and join him in being an individual. I think that is kind of an oxymoron because he talks that masses are bad and lame, but I feel that he is preaching to everyone that if you aren't thinking about yourself or thinking as an individual you are wrong. 

In his rant about memory starting at line 164 on page 6, I did find myself quite confused as to what he was trying to convey? Don't rely solely on your memory "but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day." This does confuse me quite a bit. 

Lastly, through this text I feel a sense of rebellion. Almost like, I'm going to do what I want and no one is going to tell me otherwise. I think that when it comes to the government Emerson would be the one protesting because it didn't fit in his "transcendentalism" view point. 
"High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!" I found this quote worthy of putting in here because it pretty much completes my argument that he would rather be in control of himself rather the government. 


  1. Good observations. The lintels are a Biblical reference for the most part that serves to emphasize the word whim, but I think the same effect can be felt if you associate it with Luther. This furthers your statement that he comes across as thinking he is "better than others." Question: If Emerson had "justified" his writing like Franklin and Smith did, would it make any difference in your perception?

  2. I do think that if he has justified himself more than I would think differently. I know that it was supposed to be a positive message that he was portraying , but at times when he would say things for example talking about giving a dollar to the poor, it just poured bad lighting on such a good writing. Other than that after the class discussion I had a slight change of heart. I really did enjoy this piece of writing and I do think that the world has changed into his thinking of how we only worry about the individual and not the world as a whole.