Self Reliance Rhetorical Analysis

Words: 600
Pages: 3

Lecturer and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay "Self-Reliance", clarifies how self-reliance affects an individual and how self-reliance is affected by society as well. Emerson's purpose is to persuade the transcendentalist members that being self-reliant is the supreme choice in order to follow a right path. At this time in 1841, America was in a war against their neighbors, Mexico, and every American was rushing to California due to the Gold Rush. He adopts a despairing but a pious tone in order to create a feeling of self-confidence in the transcendentalist members. Emerson achieves his purpose through the use of figurative language and diction. Emerson begins poetically in paragraph 1 where he introduces allusions and a metaphor. Emerson quotes, "The …show more content…
Use of such words set a distraught tone, which in turn repeals to his audience because Emerson is exposing all the negative aspects on individuals. It's as if Emerson is distressed by the current society and how every individual does no thinking for himself, only follows others. However, Emerson wants his audience to be cautious of how not trusting oneself makes society seem brain dead and cowardly. Emerson then shifts onto a pious tone in his second paragraph using words such as "Divine providence", "almighty", "pure", and "wise". Use of such words help set a saintly tone, which in turn appeals to his audience by demonstrating that being self-reliant is something that is viewed as holy and wanted. Emerson's tone supports his purpose of convincing the transcendentalist members that self-reliance is something sent by God, the Almighty creator. It's as if Emerson is saying that in order to be proven worthy and someone with decent character, one must follow the path that God has chosen for them. Even if every individual has a distinct purpose and path, it is not something that one must be ashamed of, instead, it is something that one must accept and praise for their