The American Scholar


Emerson and Individual Growth (‘Self-Reliance’ and ‘The American Scholar)

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

‘Self-Reliance’ and Trusting Our Own Thoughts

“Self-Reliance” reflects on, often dismissed, individual insights. Ralph Waldo Emerson believes it is important that we recognize and encourage individuals to trust in their own thoughts more than those from other people (such as famous writers). He believes someone mature and trusting in their original thoughts, rather than those conforming to society, are heading towards greatness. Throughout the essay he argues that trusting oneself before others is the most important realization one can have and the most beneficial for oneself. Toning oneself down for others only encourages and brings about mediocrity and discourages authenticness. However, self-reliance has the ability to “revolutionize” society if we so allow.

He acknowledges that, while they may not be positive characteristics for someone to possess, or the best example of having self-reliance; self-reliance is often stronger in males as they are often more independent and prone to being judgemental with a lack of respect. While that may not be the most flattering example it does ring true. He continues on to note that we can also see a good example of self-reliance in children, since the world has yet to shape them and their mindsets. Children and babies freely think, believe and feel and do not focus on outside sources to tell them how they should react to something. As a result, this is the best example we can learn from in regards to self-reliance and wanting to fully trust our gut and our own thoughts.

‘The American Scholar’ and The Importance of Nature and Books

Meanwhile, “The American Scholar” breaks down and explores what Emerson believes influences a scholar. He discusses the effect that nature, history and actions have on the “thinking man” and explores their responsibilities. He believes that we should allow nature to teach us. We should acknowledge the similarities between it and our minds, like how each possess and strives for order. This is seen in our minds by the way they sort through the constant information we are learning and the importance it has to past knowledge we have stored. Emerson believes that nature and the human mind mirror one another and fall parallel.

Emerson also expresses the influence and importance books/history have on us. He says that while they “contain the learning of the past” they can also “pose a great danger.” Books are, inevitably, somewhat biased and based on society’s standards at the time of writing. They can also keep scholars from forming their own thoughts and opinions due to something, like respect, for the writers of the past. However, like stated prior, books do hold an importance outside of keeping society educated. It is important to inspire and be inspired by others, though one should not allow their work to be influenced by past writers. This is what has the capability of creating new, possibly important, works. Overall, educating yourself and reading past works/learning history is beneficial as long as you do not let it influence the way you believe and act.

Emerson concludes the essay by addressessing the scholar’s societal obligations. He believes that developing a strong self-trust is the most important task and that working through hardships and self-sacrificing leads to great knowledge. Along with the same ideas that one must be self-reliant, original and brave in their thoughts. This conclusion coincides with what is said through the whole of “Self-reliance.”


As a result, these essays work together to inform Emerson’s audience and encourage individual growth by bringing clarity to the challenges that are presented to us in regards to knowledge, personalities and distinction in our specific fields of work and daily life. He is constant in his push for individuality and explaining the importance it has on oneself and the society around them. Pushing for this diversity and ever-growing knowledge encourages the audience to want to be self-reliant. It lets the audience know that their own thoughts have value and can have an impact on the world around them. It lets them know that they are capable of inspiring others and that as long as they are self-aware and can acknowledge and critique themselves, they can and will do great things.

Emerson’s stance strives for and leads to a diverse world with vast knowledge and the desire for change. He lets his audience know that it is okay to go a different path than what is expected and that, that is often times better for us and the world around us. He does not judge what one does, but rather lets them know that they have other options they might not have seen or considered prior. Emerson encourages individual growth by explaining what it means to him and the benefits it gives us and our world.

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The Image of an Intellectual in R.W. Emerson’s The American Scholar

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

In his essay “The American Scholar” Ralph Waldo Emerson expresses a rather progressive for his time position on the role and the duties of the intellectual, as well as on the different ways of learning and their significance. He rejects the rigid methods of education, which rely on the “exertion of mechanical skills,” and speaks in support of a teaching that develops the personality and gives importance to the individual.

Emerson states that the three main ways in which a person learns are through nature, through the past, best communicated in the form of books, and through his own actions. If he was a teacher, probably he would encourage his students to observe, admire and analyze, to find the differences and similarities between the objects and phenomena in the surrounding world, the nature and the people, and in this manner learn about themselves and form their opinions and values.

The author writes that “books are the best type of the influence of the past,” and they can be an infinite source of knowledge but he emphasizes that reading alone is not enough. No book is perfect because it gives a limited amount of information and reflects the mentality of its author and the peculiarities of its time. Emerson dislikes the image of the bookworm as opposed to “the Man Thinking,” who uses the books to gather knowledge and inspiration, but who thinks independently and himself is a writer and creator. The third and most important according to Emerson way of learning is through action. He states that people should not waste even a moment in idleness; the main purpose of the true scholar is to create, to acquire knowledge through his experiences.

Therefore, Emerson, and the teachers who follow his model, would expect from the students not only to read a certain work and simply repeat its content or write about it in a predetermined, set manner, but to analyze it on the basis of their own background and opinions, to continue and elaborate the ideas of the author. Adhering to Plutarch’s maxim, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited,” books would serve as a source of ideas and the knowledge from what is read would be used by the students in their own creative work. The future scholars would be urged to express their opinions, to be guided by their own values and not to blindly take the position of some authoritative figure. “Genius creates,” “genius always looks forward” – these are the main principles that a scholar should follow according to the author. Students must be encouraged to experiment, to compose something different and new, and to avoid copying the style and language of already written works. They would be asked to observe and write about their own experiences, and invited to seek knowledge directly from life, which would serve as their “dictionary,” as Emerson puts is. Not only the abstract, the beautiful and the noble would be explored, but also much attention would be paid to the common, the near, the everyday matters, because this is what is most often encountered in real life.

Emerson maintains that the scholar should not pursue material benefits, power and fame, but must “cheer,” “raise,” and “guide men by showing them facts amidst appearance.” Teachers should encourage independent and original reasoning and introduce books only as a ground for an active writing process, as sources of data and ideas, and induce in their students confidence in their creative abilities, thus helping them to grow and develop spiritually.

Perhaps Emerson would assign his students to read “The American Scholar” to give them the guidelines for successful learning and writing that would encourage them to think independently and have them use it as a cornerstone for analyzing some other reading, or as a basis for a piece of creative writing not connected with a previously read text. It is likely that any text included in an assignment would be used more as a reference than as a central theme in the students work.

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Literary Analysis of the Themes and Symbolism of the American Scholar

December 10, 2020 by Essay Writer

While reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Selected Essays “The American Scholar”, I personally could not really understand the essay. I really need more time to process and study the messages Emerson wanted the readers to understand. However, I understood when Emerson said that, “In self-trust all the virtue are comprehended”. If a person wants to live a full and virtues, that person should conduct their life by having good morals and ethical principles at all times to be free from chaos. Having chaos in one’s life is confusion and anger because the individual cannot process anything. Living a life of chaos is unhealthy but to be virtuous is peace. Right now, my life is chaotic, but, someday, I want to live a virtuous life, but in order for me to obtain my virtue, I have to complete my college degree to take my life to the next level to have my virtuous peace. For me, having virtue is purchasing a house that I own without the help of a loan or a mortgage. However, Emerson mention the word comprehended. Comprehended means, to understand the nature of the meaning of something. When Emerson speaks of the word nature is he really speaking about people upbringing, genetic make-up or just the meaning of the way the a person learns or understands a lesson. I really think I understood what Emerson said, but the question is, am I wrong?

Emerson explained in the essay that “we are the cowed, we the trustless and to ignorance and sin, it is flint.” If a person does not have an understanding and confidence then fear and ignorance will replace the lesson learned. If someone is ignorant, the person will not change their way of thinking and the person will never understand the lessons. Ignorant people never what to listen to what no one has to say, also ignorant people think they know it all. To be ignorant is to have no trust. On the other hand, if the person has understanding and confidence the person will open their mind up to the lesson and learn what is being taught to them. Anyone that has confidence and understanding has acquired how to listen and departmentalize what is right and what is wrong. All educated people have understanding and confidences.

The Past

Our past makes us better in life. Learning from a mistake is a lesson taught and a lesson learned. If anyone makes the same mistake twice, the person did not learn from the consequences the first time. In my past, I helped person get a cellphone in my name because they had bad credit. The person that I got the cellphone for ran up the bill to $3,400 dollars. When I got the second cellphone bill, I was furious! I called the person to ask them are they going to pay the cellphone bill, the person said NO! All I can do was cry because I did not have three thousand dollars, so I promised myself I would never help anyone again, but I did help other people in other ways and guess what, I was the one crying again. Now that I am older and wiser, I do not help anyone, when it comes down to me owing money on my credit. Being wiser is the best lesson to learn in life. When a person becomes wiser, they can teach other people what they went through before, so that person will not make a mistake that they cannot fix.

My readings

I read many books that were not educational. The most of the books was about drug, stripping and swindling, but this one book called Push, messed my mind up. When I think about that book chills. The movie Precious was based on the book Push. The movie had nothing on the book. Push was about this little girl passed through the educational system, both of her parents molested her, she live in absolute poverty and all the systems failed her until she met other people and changed her way of life. I am still sad about that book.

In closing, I hope my journal is correct.

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The Role and Significance of Nature in the American Scholar

December 10, 2020 by Essay Writer

Published In 1837, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The American Scholar, examines nature as an important “influence(s) upon the mind” (515). By 1837, the United States had enjoyed six decades of independence and was beginning to establish a culture andidentity separate from that of Europe.With Emerson at its helm, the Transcendentalist movement became a literary component of this new identity in the early 19th century. According to Emerson, nature contributes to the development of the uniquelyAmerican intellectual by fostering within him knowledge of self – thus contrasting the Colonial view of the wilderness as unholy.

In respect to nature, the reader may examine a noticeable shift in tone between early American textsand Emerson’s work. While earlier writings such as William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation and Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative hold dismalviews of nature,The American Scholar employs a more delightful and idealistic tone.Emerson’s writing seems to be full of hope for a bright and promising American future. Emerson asserts that an understanding of and appreciation for the natural world is essential for young scholars in America because of the relationship between the laws of nature and “the law of the human mind” (515).Like his contemporaries, Emerson viewed nature as a cyclical and unending representation of God’s “own spirit” (515) and inherent goodness. By extension, Emerson asserts that scholars should strive to appreciate nature as a physical counterpart to the human soul intended to “answer it part for part” (516). This philosophy deviates from the writings of early settlers, who viewed the untamed American landscape as a literal manifestation of hell. Emerson and the Transcendentalists viewed the same landscape as evidence of a divine creator, his beneficence, as well as evidence that the same spirit of goodness resides in all of mankind. Thus, as earlier writers maintained that the wilderness was abysmal, profane, and totally isolated from the Creator, Emerson paints the like as a place of uniformity with God “whereby contrary and remote things cohere” (515). In other words, everything is connected. From the author’s perspectivea scholar can never truly understand himself without understanding nature.Appropriately, the opposing views on nature and the American landscape provide a framework to better understand the soul of the country itself.

It is likely that Emerson’s philosophy was an outgrowth of the American cultural premium on freedom and independence. The United States was birthed from a spirit of revolution and rebellion. As we examine the shift in the literary views on nature exemplified in The American Scholar, we begin to see a symbolic reflection of the above principles. We see the shift begin to take place as early as the 1780’s in Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Jefferson, a man who epitomizes the Revolutionary spirit to many, can be viewed as an early subscriber to the view of nature that Emerson would later solidify. In his essay, he marvels over the Natural Bridge as “the most sublime of Nature’s works” (Jefferson 277). A scholar himself, Jefferson and his text are symbolic of the deviation from Puritan viewpoints. The Puritans and other colonial settlers were still very much connected to Great Britain. The Puritan descriptions of a “vast and howling Wilderness” (Rowlandson 131)“full of wild beasts and wild men” (Bradford 83) represent the Old World philosophy carried over from Great Britain. In contrast, Emerson’s Transcendentalist view of nature represents a coming of age of sorts. Not only is the Emersonian view of nature a guideline for a rising class of uniquely American intellects, it is a historical marker that signifies a rejection of the British cultural remnant in favor of something fresh and free.

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Critical Review and Literary Analysis of the Plastic Pink Flamingo

December 10, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the Spring 1999 The American Scholar essay “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History”, Jennifer Price writes about the popularity of the flamingo lawn decorations in the United States. However, she’s not just analyzing the spread of this lawn decoration, rather Price’s intent in writing this essay was to mock American culture and its materialistic values. The aspect she mocks is how Americans always do flashy and weird things to stay with current trends or show off their wealth and prosperity. She also calls out America as being carefree, emotionless, and hypocritical. The popularity of the flamingo lawn decoration was an example of this characteristic of American culture in the early 1900’s. Price conveys her idea through this flamingo as an example. She expresses her thoughts through tone and word choice, other popular examples, and by creating implicit messages with use of background stories and knowledge.

The first way that Price communicates her satire is through her tone and word choice. She uses large words with powerful meaning that stand out against the rest of the words to create satire through sarcasm. She uses words such as “extravagance” and “flamboyance” to describe the flamingo lawn decorations. These words are obviously exaggerated, and it creates a sarcastic and mocking tone. One of Price’s heaviest uses of sarcasm is the addition of the sentence “But no matter” after Price describes how Americans wiped out the native flamingo population in the United States. This is obvious sarcasm because nobody believes that the extinction of a population is unimportant, except for the American population that Price regards as careless and hypocritical in this matter. Price’s use of sarcasm and satire is obvious so the audience is able to understand Price’s critique of the United States. The sarcasm helps to support Price’s idea because her tone makes fun of the flamingo, which she portrays as nothing special. This then mocks America because the people had made this unimportant flamingo into something popular, cool, and trendy.

Furthermore, throughout the essay, Price makes references and uses examples of American culture in order to further express her viewpoint. Her first use of this is when she establishes how “vacationing Americans had been flocking to to Florida and returning home with flamingo souvenirs.” This creates an example of Americans themselves and paints the image that people had been getting flamingoes for years just because it was the cool thing to do. Readers can use this example of vacationers and personally relate to it and understand the point that Price is trying to make in their own lives. Later, Price also uses Elvis as an example and how he bought a pink Cadillac. This example builds the idea that pink is a color associated with wealth and success because a celebrity had used it. This connotation of pink and prosperity helps supports Price’s idea that Americans bought the flamingoes to fit in. Another reason Price uses the example of Elvis is to establish credibility with the audience and help them understand the concept better. Most modern Americans know of Elvis and his fame, so readers are able to connect with the fame that Elvis had.

In the final paragraph of her essay, Price adds more onto her point in that when American culture makes a trend of something, Americans often forget the history of an object or symbol. In essence, she calls Americans hypocrites. Price manages to create this idea because she explains the history of the flamingo as a symbol in other cultures by saying “Early Christians associated it with the red phoenix. In ancient Egypt, it symbolized the sun god Ra.” These statements of history accuse American culture with cultural appropriation, and this idea regards Americans as careless. Readers can understand that Americans are clueless because Price had already mentioned the extinction of flamingoes in America, then uses these stories as a way of portraying Americans as cruel because they slaughtered then later used an important symbol to past cultures. In other ways, Price uses the stories as a way of forcing the readers to feel compassion for the cultures who are being erased.

In her essay, Price continuously asserts that Americans in modern culture do many things to stay with the current trends and fit in with prosperity and popularity. Price expresses her idea in many unspoken fashions. She uses a sarcastic tone, created by word choice and sentence structure. She also uses popular examples that the reader can relate to on a personal level. Price also criticizes the American culture as hypocritical through the use of implicit messages created by stories.

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Discussion On Whether Corporal Punishment Should Be Provided For Bullies

December 10, 2020 by Essay Writer

In our modern day as the different advancement of technology provide us with a better life and a better interaction within each other. Apparently, as people are more close together where they can reach each other in a nick of time. It leads to some feelings of hate, jealousy, anger and other more, where they do use or release it to do hurt other people upon doing this, which is can be defined as a form of bullying. Based on study 1 out of 2 people under 25 years of age do experience bullying in their life. So bullying is a widespread phenomenon that is not much controllable by the authorities and it causes phobia, mental issues, lower grades and other more. On the part of the bully person, I try to think about how they become that kind of person where it is so easy for them to hurt other persons physically nor mentally. So for the people who do give quick punishment for the bullies, I think they’re the kind of person that is ‘one-sided person’. Even though they do hurt a person, they still need a fair judgement like knowing the reason why he does that and what’s going through his mind or life. So I’m fully believed that having a punishment for the bullies will only destroy the physical and mental thinking of the child that will suddenly affect his academic performance for him/her to create a path for a better future.

As a democratic country we do have the freedom of expression, but even though we really feel the freedom that we have in our life we still need the rules and regulations that consider as laws in our society for us to a systematic system in our country in order to maintain the peace and the freedom that we felt nowadays. Strict disciplines that applying does ‘might enhance or result’ to well academic performance. It only means that we should put rules and regulation or even punishment about the cases of bullying it is for us to control and maintain the peace and the joyfulness that the schools should be provided for their students. Also providing punishment clearly create a feeling of peace and systematic surrounding for every student in a school. Based on a study having a corporal or physical punishment towards the student made them to have the right path in life, not to repeat their mistakes and become a well-disciplined student.

From the New Orleans schools, they perform better performance every year. Through having these rules and regulations is the reason for this. But authorities need to ensure the rules and regulations so it doesn’t become a distraction. Some teachers do apply corporal punishment because of coming late to school, bad attitude to teachers, doing bad things, fighting with friends, not becoming attentive about the discussion or not answering the questions of the teachers. Through experiencing physical punishment from the authorities they being somehow expelled, scolded, even hit by the stick by their teachers and other more, it resulted to emotional and behavioural breakdowns where it pushes a student or a child to show more a bad attitude towards the other by intentionally for them to let go the anger that they do feel in their teachers

Discipline is very important through the life of a student and as a child, through the concept of discipline that being done in home and school, the child becomes more honest, kind and responsible in life. But discipline is a choice and what kind of discipline they do apply for their child. When a child that being discipline, parent discuss or explain on what do they expect from their child and from the point it is now on their child’s hand either they follow their expectation or to be liberated one. When a child follows all the guidance and to have the discipline in life it really does result in a brighter future of the child where he becomes a role model of the society.

However, doing parental harsh disciplining creates a greater percentage for the increase of risk behavioural problems. It only means that having too much expectation and harsh discipline to your child will surely make your child a liberated one. But we all know that discipline is different from punishment because discipline provides a life lesson to a child while punishment produces a feeling of guilt and anger. Also as a student, it is great to have varieties of expectations from my parents and other relatives. Yet having those expectations really kills me a lot inside where I’ve become too scared onto something even though I can do it or scared of what they think about me after finishing a specific activity, through these I become a lazy one, anxious about my purpose in life or who really am I and seek for happiness by making fun of someone or myself to be fit in what kind of society that we do have now, especially with my friends and it really does my academic performance in school.

Based from Michigan Association of School Administrator, a child that being a bully one doesn’t differ to the person being bullied because a bully one feel anxiety about whether they are going to school or not that results in a lack of interest in their academic performance, also thru these the do feel low self-confidence, depressions, suicidal and other more.

So instead of having corporal punishment by the parents or the teachers, it is more comfortable for them to have some seminar about moral views. In a part of the schools and institutions, they must have a clear message as well as rules and regulations of a zero tolerance of bullying. But in the part of the parents, they must have a huge and active role in paying attention to what their child experiencing most of the time in their home or even school.

In conclusion, being a bully is not being inherited or a disease that can be easily transmitted. It is being acquired by what you experience in life, the surroundings that you have and the way of your thinking. Having a punishment for bullies make them showing more their bad attitude and gain more power by stepping above the weak. Lastly, there is no one to blame or to be punished of being a bully or being bullied by the others, because at the end of the day they do feel the same feeling it only differs from the sympathy that the person being bullied have. Rather than a punishment, we must focus on good moral guidance and development of their self.

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