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The essay has three major divisions: the importance of self-reliance (paragraphs 1-17), self-reliance and the individual (paragraphs 18-32), and self-reliance and society (paragraphs 33-50).As a whole, it promotes self-reliance as an ideal, even a virtue, and contrasts it with various modes of dependence or conformity.
Throughout his life, Emerson kept detailed journals of his thoughts and actions, and he returned to them as a source for many of his essays.
Such is the case with "Self-Reliance," which includes materials from journal entries dating as far back as 1832.
For example people always want what they don't have.
Rich people who can afford anything want simple lives, and not so rich people want to live the rich life. When i see some of my friends getting new cars from their parents I get jealous because i do not have one. As Emerson would say "they imitate" which if I am correct in his terms is "suicide". When you imitate or try to be what you are not you can find yourself feeling as soulless as a dead man. Self-Reliance, standing up for your beliefs and to be willing to fight for what you believe in.
When Emerson says nothing can bring peace but yourself, means to be self reliant and not rely on other to do things for you. "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, and the imitation is suicide." If a man is envious of other people he will ignore all merits of himself.
Although when thinking, how self reliant can one be? If a man tries to imitate someone he loses all self identity and individualism, like suicide.
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Emerson's essay 'self reliance' had multiple themes incorporated with artistic perfection focusing on the topic of individualism.
Emerson sheds light on the most important of the American dreams ' Be a non- conformist' do what you believe is right for you, not what society thinks is right for you.
In other words Choosing your own destiny, not following one society pick out for you Society dictates ...