Essay Conformity and People

Submitted By danib429
Words: 1646
Pages: 7

12 Emerson’s major theme of conformity plays a major role in many of his essays. He believes on being an individual and a non conformist. He is calling us from a life of dependence to a life of independence where we are not subordinate to things nor are we living a life of imitation and looking in the past; but to be our own person and to have originality. Throughout Emerson’s essays such as “The American Scholar”, and “Self Reliance” portray this theme of conformity as a major issue. Throughout “Self Reliance” Emerson’s sees conformity as the greatest threat to people. Conformity strips someone of their individuality, and brings damage to one’s mind. Emerson says “like children who repeat by rate the sentences of granddames and tutors.” He views that maturing becomes a process of conformity. Emerson believes that society is in conspiracy with manhood, that once you start to grow older it is inevitable that you are going to conform to the rest of society. “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.” If you are a conformist, the no one can see your true character. “The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. If you maintain a dead church, contribute to a dead Bible-society, vote with a great party either for the government or against it, spread your table like base housekeepers- under all these screens I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are: and of course so much force is withdrawn from your proper life." It is hard to detect the difference between two people if they follow the same beliefs, and do what everyone else does, it does not stand you apart from them. We must trust ourselves and become aware of our capabilities and the power that we have and we must use it. We should not ignore our inner thoughts and voices; we should shine them and not be afraid because that is what really makes you a person. “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. 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.” Conformity is not coming to know what it is that we can do as a person. Emerson believes that all the non-conformists should come together and rebel against conformity and show everyone what it is like to be an individual. In the same way “The American Scholar” also deals with the issues of conformity and how it is the enemy in society. Emerson throughout “The American Scholar” is calling us from a life of dependence to a life of independence, where we all have originality. Emerson is teaching us to not be subordinate to things that are just tools in our life. We are more than what people merely view us as. “Man is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all.” A man’s job does not define who he is as a person, each person that does that particular job are all different Emerson spends a lot of time talking about the effect that books have on people. He believes that books only concentrate on the past and that they are dangerous. Books only show part of the truth because they are biased based on the society and the time that they were written. To find one’s own truths for oneself, you must write