Ralph Waldo Emerson: Self-reliance and Nature

This paper is a critical analysis of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays on universe, society and individualism.

To the modern student, Emerson comes through as a dogmatic, self-centered and rather unoriginal writer. It is only with closer reading that we begin to understand where his greatness lay.

Not for Emerson the It appears that…, or This would indicate…, or even the ultimate face-saver, In my experience…. He writes each word not as if it were dictated by God, but rather that God himself is writing it. He is right. He knows he is right, and he refuses to be humble about it. He knows that since the truth of his statement came from his heart, then that truth resides in the hearts of all men and they thus must recognize it.

He is readable for us today because he avoided the hyperbole and rhetoric of most of contemporaries. He is not …

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