December 5

Emerson’s Aphorism

“Self-Reliance” is an important American document. Emerson set the tone for many ideas to come. You were assigned a task: choose one aphorism from the excerpt that you find relevant.

First, cite your aphorism from the essay. Explain what Emerson means. Apply it to the ideas proposed in “Self-Reliance” then respond personally. How does this aphorism manifest in our lives/your life? Why is the idea presented important to success or the development of one’s Self? Be sure to proofread and support your assertions with concrete examples. This is a personal response so it is more than appropriate to use the personal pronoun, “I.”

An aside: please keep your commas inside quotation marks. It is more aesthetically pleasing.

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Posted December 5, 2012 by tashak38 in category Uncategorized

About the Author

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area--Big Up to the East Bay

61 thoughts on “Emerson’s Aphorism

  1. Heather H.

    Heather H.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    11 December 2012
    In “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson asserts, “Imitation is suicide”. Indeed, when you attempt to take on the identity of another, your own self dies. When a person sees that another is more successful, more well liked, smarter, wealthier, prettier, or in any way considered “superior”, often that person will try to emulate the “better” person. Imitation is done in the hopes that one will somehow become happier if they are less themselves and more someone else. However, this is extremely faulty logic and will only result in pain. As each person is unique, one can never fully copy another. Even if one were to completely assume the personality of another, the original uniqueness of the person would be lost. Just as being in two places at once is impossible, being two people at once is as well. The original must die in order to become a copy. When I was younger, my mom put me into very liberal and “hippie” playgroups, and over and over it was reinforced that I needed to “be myself”; differences were encouraged as well as quirkiness. I have discovered in my life that there’s really no point in trying to be someone I’m not, as if people wanted someone like the person I might try to emulate, they would just associate with the original.

    Reply
  2. Johanna G.

    Johanna G.
    Keeble
    AP English, Per. 2
    10 December 2012

    In Emerson’s essay, “Self Reliance”, he states, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” I believe Emerson meant that people will not understand a person’s choices if they step out of the crowd. This aphorism applies to “Self Reliance” because after he became an individual, he only had himself to rely on. This aphorism relates not only to me, but most teenagers as well. In this society, we create a silent competition against each other, fighting for who has the best clothing, newest phones, or most famous brands. Everyone and everything is now judged and there are only a few brave enough to stray from the hype and be who they want to be. I think that this idea is an important key to being successful because it demonstrates one’s self being and individualism. Without it, you only blend in with society’s image.

    Reply
  3. Maria

    Maria M.
    AP English
    Period 1

    In “Self Reliance” Emerson tries to proof his point that people who rely on other will not get anywhere by using aphorism like this one, “the man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till the other is ready” (Walden, 72). Emerson is right, there are many people around the world who just seem to keep doing what others do instead of standing up for themselves. i think it is great to know how to stand up for yourself because to me that means that you value yourself a lot because you are not letting yourself be carried away by others. Today, there are many people who rely on others in many different ways. For example, one of them are teenagers. Many teenagers rely on other by what they decide to wear. They don’t take their own style out there, instead they decide to wear what other wear. Standing out for what you think is the best is way better than waiting for others to feel the same way you do so you can go ahead and let it out.

    Reply
  4. Hannah R.

    Hannah Reddy
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, Period 2
    10 December 2012

    The aphorism I chose in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” was “envy is ignorance.” What Emerson meant by this quote was that envy blinds us. We, as a society, don’t pay attention to what we have, and cannot be content with what we have. So when we see others with better belongings than what we have, we are blinded by these aspects. A key issue in our society today is electronics. We constantly see other with bigger televisions, sleeker laptops, or even the iPhone 5. We abstain from focusing on what we have now and being content with it, to wanting the next best materialistic object. If something works just fine, why purchase it new? We begin focusing on what we want and what we don’t have, that we don’t realize what our wants (not out needs) are doing to other countries around us. Our ignorance may just be costing others their lives.

    Reply
  5. Caitlin H.

    Caitlin Huie
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English Per 2
    10 December 2012

    In “Self-Reliance,” an aphorism Emerson writes is, “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Emerson is describing how people act differently in public than in private. In public, people try to fit in and do whatever everyone else does. They don’t act like their true selves because they want to follow what’s popular in society. To be great, people have to act like their true selves in private as well as in public. Everyone is unique in their own way, but people usually don’t express that unless they’re in solitude.

    High school is a perfect example of Emerson’s quote. Every day, people are asking themselves what they should wear or how they should style their hair. These people are trying to fit in and wear what’s “cool” in high school. Some don’t care if that’s how they really want to dress; they have to follow the trend. Most of the students are afraid to be individual because they’re afraid of what others will think of them. They don’t want to stand out and be the rebel that doesn’t go with the trend. Students are intimidated of other people’s opinions and they would rather do what’s “normal” instead of showing their uniqueness.

    Reply
  6. Caleb M.

    Caleb M.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English, Per. 2
    10 December 2012

    The aphorism that caught my attention in “Self-Reliance” by Ralph W. Emerson was “imitation is suicide”. In other words, copying other people or trying to “fit in” with the crowd leads to unoriginality and the loss of ones unique character. Emerson, who believed in individualism, lived away from society to stand out and be his own person. I try to be different from everyone else because I’ve realized that fitting in with the crowd usually never leads to personally growth or success later in life. I agree with the quote “imitation is suicide” because in pop culture today, young people are influenced by music, TV, friends, etc., leading them to be everything but themselves. For example, I know a friend that started to behave like a famous rapper after he began listening to that artist’s music. This has led to a complete change in my friend’s personality and now seems to be a completely different person. Successful people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates thought outside society’s norms to create great inventions, using their own creativity. Without creativity, none of their inventions would have been made. I believe Emerson’s “imitation is suicide” philosophy should be used everyday to promote creativity and uniqueness.

    Reply
  7. Merritt W.

    Merritt Walker
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English
    10 December 2012

    Ralph Waldo Emerson uses a lot of aphorisms in his excerpt “Self-Reliance”. “Envy is ignorance” is the aphorism that really stood out to me. Emerson means that by being envious of someone you are being ignorant. To be envious of someone is basically saying that you are jealous of another person, you’re being ignorant because you aren’t thankful or grateful about what you have because you are too busy worrying about someone else. This idea is important to help us succeed because we, society shouldn’t worry about everybody else; we just need to worry about ourselves. In my personal opinion we can all learn from this aphorism. Everyone at one point has been envious of someone, at one point in their life. I have been envious of my friends when they got better grades, or i get envious of rich people because they have a lot of things. As Emerson says though, its not good to be envious because that makes you ignorant.

    Reply
  8. Bilguun B

    Bilguun Batdorj

    Ms. Keeble

    AP English 11

    Dec 10 2012

    Emerson’s “Self Reliance” is a short essay that emphasizes the importance of individuality. The essay is also filled with many examples of aphorisms. The aphorism that really caught my attention is “Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide.” I believe that this is somewhat true but coincidentally also false. I believe that you should be proud of who you are and try to improve yourself by envying other individuals and. But it is also important to not drown yourself in wishful thinking and follow society’s path. The ablity of taking care of yourself and looking out for your own destiny is one of the most important aspects of a person.

    Reply
  9. Veronica

    Veronica V.
    Dec. 12, 2012
    Ap English, 1st period

    In Emerson’s, Self-Reliance,” there are many important aphorisms he uses in order to express his opinions. The one that stood out to me the most was when he said, “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.” What Emerson means by this is that people should do whatever they please even if others don’t like it. He also means that each individual has the right to be who they are, even if it means doing what makes them happy. This aphorism stood out to me because I can really relate to myself with this since I do things for myself, not caring about what others think about me. I know many people might not agree with what I like to do or what makes me happy, but it doesn’t matter to me. All that matters is if I’m making myself happy. Also, I believe people have the right to do whatever they please or what makes them happy, regardless of what others might say because they’re not doing it for them. Plus, people are always going to judge and talk so might as well let them talk and keep doing what I love to do because I’m not going to let anyone stop me from doing them.

    Reply
  10. Dartise

    Dartise
    Dec. 12, 2012
    1st period

    In Emerson’s, “Self-Reliance,” he includes many aphorisms to get his point across, but one aphorism that stood out to me was when he said, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” What Emerson means by this aphorism is that nothing is more important than which you think is right and wrong. You can’t let anyone decide your morals and beliefs because you hold that close to yourself and won’t let anyone change your opinion. This aphorism stood out to me because I stick to by my beliefs no matter what anybody tells me or thinks of me. For example, I broke up a fight when I seen two of my friends fighting, but people got mad at me because I broke it up. I didn’t let what those people think of me because in my heart I knew I was doing the right thing.

    Reply
  11. Rachael B.

    Rachael B.
    AP English 11
    Ms. Keeble
    10 December 2012

    Ralph Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance” depicts the usage of many aphorisms and sayings that one could follow as words of wisdom. The quote with the most wisdom that stood out to me most was “Trust thyself.” I believe these two words relate to the topic of self-reliance. One must believe that what he or she does and fights for is the right perspective to follow. A person cannot strive for something without trust in the belief that it is possible to succeed. Self-reliance is about trusting yourself upon the fact that you can be independent and make it on your own without having someone guide you is something true. There is no possible way to advance forward without the optimism trusting yourself may bring. This sort of optimism allows one to exert him or herself towards that set goal because of the assurance, trust, and faith that it will happen. Independence is self-reliance and trusting yourself will allow you to obtain such a characteristic.

    Reply
  12. Dan M

    The aphorism i chose from “Self Reliance” was “No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature.” I think this is a testament to integrity, something i bluff until i come under pressure. Carbon does not become a diamond until it is under the weight of a mountain.
    I recently have been fighting for a friend, pulling out the stops to help them. I have a simple rule: show others the respect they show you. I usually abide by this rule above all others. But the situation with my friend is so dire, I threw away that rule without a second thought.
    I guess what I’m saying is that i can mime my way through those rules that society places on us, such as courtesy and niceness. But when I am working to save a friend, I will kick the terminator in the groin and slap the Dali Lama if that is what it takes to save a friend. Because even though it is my nature to be an asshole, it is also my nature to make sure those i care about Do Not Come Under Harm, and i will damn well the former to achieve the latter.

    Reply
      1. tashak38

        Besides the fact that you’re creating a specific tone and possibly alienating some audience members. You must be very careful with your words. This is a rhetoric class. We know what language does, right?

        Reply
  13. jennifer

    period2

    Emerson’s essay, “Self Reliance”includes an array of aphorisms explaining the term, self reliance. There are steps, requirements and characteristics included to be considered self reliant. “To be great is to be misunderstood” is a possible characteristic of a self reliant person. Self Reliance can be difficult to accomplish for anyone regardless of age. The greatness of a self reliant person can be misunderstood as excess or unnecessary work by those who are not self reliant. Ultimately only the self reliant can be stranded without aid and survive. The perk of the success this trait brings is that it only belongs to its possessor. The people who misunderstand its meaning are forced to share their success with those who they rely on. It is better to owe to yourself than to owe to a line of shoulders that you leaned on.

    Reply
  14. jennifer

    Jennifer
    period2

    Emerson’s essay, “Self Reliance”includes an array of aphorisms explaining the term, self reliance. There are steps, requirements and characteristics included to be considered self reliant. “To be great is to be misunderstood” is a possible characteristic of a self reliant person. Self Reliance can be difficult to accomplish for anyone regardless of age. The greatness of a self reliant person can be misunderstood as excess or unnecessary work by those who are not self reliant. Ultimately only the self reliant can be stranded without aid and survive. The perk of the success this trait brings is that it only belongs to its possessor. The people who misunderstand its meaning are forced to share their success with those who they rely on. It is better to owe to yourself than to owe to a line of shoulders that you leaned on.

    Reply
  15. Adria W.

    Adria W.
    Ms.Keeble
    AP English per. 2
    9 December 2012

    The aphorism I chose was “Envy is ignorance”. What Emerson suggests by saying this is that many of us let our envy blind us of all that we have and this envy is ignorant because it is comparing ourselves to others. This aphorism can relate to a high school students everyday life. I walk through the hallways at school and most of the time there is someone making a comment showing their jealousy towards someones clothes, shoes, or phone. This then can lead to that person comparing themselves to the one they are envious of and trying their hardest to duplicate them. Another example in high school can be a person with all A’s versus someone who gets average grades. I know that is one I can truly. I get envious of my friends who have a GPA that is a 4.0 or above because of the hard work they put into getting those grads but in the end my envy makes push myself to where they are at. Even though I do struggle with it, I never give up.

    Reply
  16. Joelynn D.

    Joelynn D.

    Ms. Keeble

    AP English – 2nd period

    In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance” there are many aphorisms in which he articulates his beliefs in individuality, philosophy and originality. One aphorism that really stood out to me was, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” Those who are true leaders or individualists do not conform to society or to the public for the sake of fitting in, but stand adamantly behind their beliefs and morals. More often than not, people who are not afraid to stand out have more confidence, individualism, and higher perspectives; but the downside being that they are misunderstood by the rest of society for having different views. But this proves that they are admirable and great because there would be no way to even be misunderstood if one only followed society’s views and norms.
    Especially from in the past, the best thinkers were all shunned and belittled in their time. Like Aristotle, Thoreau, Locke, etc, many thinkers were not looked up to as they are today and were misunderstood and their perspectives and beliefs were considered eccentric because they were different from the norms. Only after their deaths, were people able to understand them and even agree with the morals and beliefs they had expressed long ago.

    Reply
  17. Zoey Madsen

    The essay “Self Reliance”, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is devoured by thoughts resembling the Romantic period. The essays most dramatic essence are the aphorisms that control much of the message in the writing. For example, Emerson says, “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.” This aphorism means that the decisions of an individual should primarily be that of the individual, instead of being influenced by other peoples common morals. In other words, a person should do what they need to do for themselves, regardless of what people may think. It’s a great part of Romanticism because it reflects independence and power upon one person. The aphorism tells people that they shouldn’t focus their actions to be based on what everybody else said was right, certainly resembling the thought changes during the Romantic period.
    I agree with Emerson, because his aphorism is part of the way things are today. It’s common for people to not care about the way people think regarding their actions. However, we don’t practice this as much as Emerson did in his time. It was a way of life for him, now it’s just a slightly common reaction among people in different places all over the world.

    Reply
    1. tashak38 (Post author)

      I love that push yourself. Be sure to use precise diction. What do you mean is “devoured?” Or “dramatic essence?” Make sure that if you want to use new words, you use them correctly. Good job otherwise.

      Reply
  18. Dominique

    Dominique
    AP English 11
    Per 2
    December 6, 2012

    In Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” he uses many different forms of literature to set the tone of his entry. For example, Emerson uses aphorisms to set his tone, and one particular one that stood out to me was this: “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.” What Emerson means by this aphorism is that one self has the right/duty to do all he/she can to benefit him/herself and not to impress other people’s opinions, which should not be the reason of failure. Emerson applies this aphorism to ideas throughout “Self-Reliance” because it supports the benefit of the individual. One personal connection I have of this is that I live my life by this rule, and I do whatever I can that I know will personally benefit me and I do not care what others think. For example, one way I see how this aphorism comes into play is self expression, which could be standing out and being different than others, which I partake in with my fashion style, I simply do not care if it is old or out. People’s opinions have never been a huge factor to me, I just see them as harmless words coming from another’s mouth. The way this aphorism manifests our lives is that it draws a connection to you deep down and makes you stop and rearrange your thoughts and puts you in a survival mode. This idea is important to the development of one’s self because it gives one the confidence to do something that will benefit themselves, which is important because if everyone is able to make him/herself better, then that will result in a better society and overall place.

    Reply
  19. David M.

    David M
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    12/6/12
    In Emerson’s “Self Reliance” there are a ton of Aphorisms. The Aphorism that truly spoke to me is “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” He is trying to say that a truly great person is never corrupted by the people around him and stays true to who he is no matter what.
    This Aphorism speaks to me entirely and I can feel it. I am alone in this world and that is how I was raised and I will feel for the rest of my life. I see only me and no matter what other people say or want me to be, deep down I am still the same. Alone, carefree, and a little despondent, I don’t truly fit in anywhere and I like it that way. I am alone to my thoughts in any crowd and still I am accomplishing great good for just being who I am. I will always be me, no matter what. Even if people do not like it; that’s just the way I am. It is what makes me a great helper to those around me. I keep cool in any story that is told and I give my most serious opinions, no matter how harmful they can be. However, there is one person I truly care about. I guess I am not that alone anymore.

    Reply
  20. Yarelli Lopez

    Yarelli Lopez
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English Language & Composition
    6 December 2012

    In “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, states many examples of how aphorism is used in order to make people think about the real reasons behind every word he writes. For instance, one saying that caught my eye was when Emerson suggests that, “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” By this, Emerson means that it is okay to try to prove a point even if it means that you are standing alone with your own ideas. Personally, I get intimidated when I am standing alone, for example, in an argument just because I feel that I will be eaten by everybody’s ideas of the other side. So I tend to stay within the crowd to feel more support. But definitely it is important to know how to stand alone because you never know when someone just might turn their back on you. Also you grow as a better more intellectual person.

    Reply
    1. tashak38 (Post author)

      Awww. But your ideas are so essential ot our discussions. We all feel intimidated, I think. At times.

      Reply
  21. Thomas T

    Thomas T.
    Keeble
    Ap English
    Period 1

    In “Self-Reliance”, Emerson argues that to conform to the norms of society is to be weak and people should have their own sense of right or wrong. “It us easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Emerson suggests that it living to society’s opinion is easy and in solitude we are our own person, but being your own person in a group is to be great. Within our society, we care much about being “normal”, yet at as human beings we thrive on our own uniqueness. I once read a person’s statement on how we should look and in it he was saying how we should look like our society crafts us to be. He tells a story about how he was overweight and treated poorly by his peers, but he made a change to his appearance and “for the first time, I felt happy. HAPPY.” That person conformed to society’s norms and was accepted by the people around him, but does that mean he is an amazing person for doing so? No, it doesn’t. You may hear this often: a person who stands out from their own community is isolated by his or her own peers and eventually assimilates to his community to become part of it. In my eyes, we are all human, but to be a person is to be your own.

    Reply
  22. Abraham N.

    Abraham N.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    Period 5
    6 December 2012

    In the essay “Self-Reliance”, I had a hard time choosing between two aphorisms, so I chose to explain both because I believe that they are connected in a way. The aphorisms, “envy is ignorance”, and “imitation is suicide”, mean that when you are envious of someone, you are being ignorant of the qualities that you possess because you are to busy being jealous of the things, or qualities other people have and when you imitate someone, you are killing your originality because you are not being yourself, you’re being a copy of somebody else. This is why I think the two quotes are connected because enviousness leads to imitation, and imitation leads to suicide of your originality, which creates ignorance.
    Many ideas proposed in the essay, “Self-Reliance” have to do with being independent and trusting your gut, but the aphorism’s I chose are not related to what the essay is asserting, but the way Emerson used them made the aphorism’s be shown in a negative light, and showcased as being dependent, which is the opposite of what this essay is asserting.
    The aphorism’s I chose manifest in our life a lot more than you think. For example in Hollywood, imitation runs rampant in the form of reboots, and remakes. People are giving up on originality now more than ever, and whenever I watch television, I see the same premise on every show I watch but just a couple of events or characters changed. Or in music, especially hip hop, all you hear is rappers talking about cars and clothes, just imitating other rappers in the industry. One form of enviousness I see in my life is crimes committed like robbery, because of people being envious of somebody else having something they want, so people think it’s okay to rob that person to obtain the object that they had instead of working to get it themselves. I believe the main idea Emerson was asserting is vital to one’s development, because if you learn how to be self-sufficient at a young age, life will be easier for you than someone who was dependent for most of his or her life.

    Reply
  23. Jasmine J.

    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    6 December 2012

    “Self-Reliance” promotes the ideas of being independent and doing what you need to do regardless of what others think and/or say. In this essay came the aphorism, “Imitation is suicide.” I believe this to mean that we were all created individually in an original way. By saying that imitation is suicide, Emerson is saying that you’re mentally and spiritually killing yourself. You’re ridding yourself of what makes you original therefore killing your individuality. This aphorism applies to me because it reminds me to stay true to myself and focus on what I’m doing regardless of others opinions.

    Reply
  24. Adiam H

    In the excerpt “Self Reliance” , Emerson uses an abundance amount of aphorism. For example, he asserts “Imitation is suicide.”, meaning imitating someone is killing your self. Individuality is a key characteristic to survive in this world, by imitating someone you are sacrificing your own individualism.If you are not dependent, then you do not exist. Emerson designated readers to understand the concept of why relying on yourself is important. There are many ways this aphorism manifest in young girls lives today. Kim Kardashian is a great example, she is an American socialite, reality television star, and model. Young girls try to imitate her state of being. Yes she is beautiful, yes she does have an amazing body, yes she does have an abundance amount of money.They imitate Kim K not knowing it is overturning their humanity in a negative approach. By pleasing others they are deteriorating their inner selves. And this is when self reliance needs to come in place.

    Reply
  25. Niauni Hill

    Niauni Hill
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English, Period 1
    06 December 2012

    In “Self Reliance”, the Amercan document by Emerson one of many aphorisms caught my eye. ” My greatest skill has been to want but little” (Walden, 69). This aphorism means that to want is a big accomplishment (skill), but wanting little is an even bigger accomplishment. Being worthy of what you have is a skill within itself, but striving for a little more is also a skill within itself. This aphorism manifests in my life, because as an individual I always want…that’s just in human nature. I learned that in order to get what I feel I can accomplish, I should strive for little at a time. Over time, I will eventually get all that I ever wanted.

    Reply
  26. Amacalli Duran

    Amacalli Duran
    AP English
    Ms. Keeble

    Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, where he later aspired to be an American essayist, lecturer, and poet. Disregarding his religious and social beliefs, Emerson formulated the belief of Transcendentalism and led the Transcendentalist movement in the mid-19th century. Emerson advocated individuality and ignoring the pressures of society, which is demonstrated in many of his works. In his notorious essay Self-Reliance (underline), Emerson emphasizes the consequences of assimilation and how individuality is the most basic form of freedom. Emerson asserts that, “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Emerson states how one acts, thinks, and appears differs from when in public than when in private. He then refutes that to be “great” one must act, think, and appear in private as they do in public.
    High school is the most appropriate example to explain this quote. High school is a time where students aspire to reach a standard of cool. To be cool, one must dress, act, and talk correctly. The question that remains is who created the standard of being cool? At what point, do you reach the max of being cool? When high school students attend school, they attempt to look their best, which can be proved by the countless girls pushing their way to the bathroom mirror to do their make-up or hair. As well, they change their attitude, which can be explained by the students who talk-back to their teachers to appear “cool”. If a survey were to be taken at any high school, it is most likely that all students would state that they “bum it out” at home. This means, they do not wear nice clothing or bother to do their hair or make-up when in private. It is far easier for high school students to follow the pressure of high school then to act as their own self. I recall my freshman year when I would fuss over doing my hair and make-up. I now look back and am disgusted of how much time I wasted hoping to reach a standard that was not even my own. I had changed who I was in public, to conform to the views of others. My sophomore year I regained my individuality, I expressed myself for who I am.
    The example of high school relates to Emerson’s assertions because it shows the various amounts of students who lost their individuality to become someone else. Just as Emerson also stated in Self-Reliance (underline) “Imitation is suicide”. High school students are slowly killing themselves as well as their happiness as they hope to reach the standard of “cool”. Emerson explains, that to be forced to change yourself in front of others, demonstrates how truly weak you are. If you are unable to show the real you, then you can never achieve “greatness”.

    Reply
    1. tashak38 (Post author)

      Well said. I like the development of the personal examples.
      Punctuate essays with quotation marks. Remember, if the document stands on its own it is underlined or italicized. Shorter works are usually set off with quotation marks. You may need a pnemonic for this one. 🙂

      Reply
  27. Areli S

    Areli Sanchez
    Ms. Keeble
    AP ENLGISH 11,2
    December 6th 2012

    In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s , “Self Relience”, the reader comes face to face with the thoughts of a man of whom believes in individuality and stresses the idea of thinking for one’s self rather than following along others. This piece is filled with an abundance of aphormisms, and I chose, “To be great is to be misunderstood”. I believe this aphormism means that those that think differently are commonly misundertood, and shunned by others because they choose to face and open their minds to new ideas and perspectives. This certain aphormism stood out to me because in a way I feel like I can deeply relate to it. Now, I am not trying to say that I am GREAT but rather to say that I am great in some distorted way and I find myself to be greatly misunderstood on that behalf. And I do realize, I have hidden this greatness I hold because of my subordination to society. Behinds close doors, I am great and still misunderstood even by myself at times. It feels horrible to have no one understand you, to agree with you , or to even open their ears to listen to the significant words I have to say. The great are truly misunderstood. Relevant to our upcoming readings, Thoreau could be considered misunderstood and he was great, from reading previous pages regarding Thoreau I came across one in which infered that maybe although many say he didnt do action and just wrote on issues, perhaps what he wanted to achieve was action through the form of writing. In which, would leave this great man to be understood, even back in his time and currently.

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  28. Alexis L.

    Alexis L.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11
    12/6/12
    In “Self Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson uses many aphorisms to demonstrate radical ideas. For example ,“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”. He implies that our minds are one of a kind and that people shouldn’t spoil it with irrational ideas. One should not hold back his potential and stay with simple minded people. A person will never comprehend his own capabilities if he or she has only simple ideas and thoughts. For instance, if a person only does what he is told then he or she will never expand his or her mind and become something great. Only we can make ourselves great, not others. It usually depends on the path people feel more comfortable with. One’s goal is to be oneself and not what others tell them to be.

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  29. Jonathan v

    Jonathan V
    Ms.Keeble
    Ap Eng and Comp
    period 1

    In the short excerpts from Emerson’s “Self Reliance” many aphorisms stood out to me but one like the last one. “Is it so bad to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood”. I think that Emerson means that every great person in the world was doubted at first but as time passed by the things started to change and people saw that these people they were calling dumb were great. The title says it all “Self Reliance”, meaning that everyone in the world at sometime have to be reliant on themselves because people may doubt them, making them feel low but once again they see that they are not the only ones that are being pressured to feel that, so they gain confidence to go out of this negativity circle and move on. This aphorism relates to me personally because all my life my mother has called me a leader and sometimes I think I cant make it because of where i’m coming from. My mother always tells me, “do you see a statue of a leader that was born in glory”? This makes a good point to me because after all the times this has been said to me, she is right every great leader has gone through hardships and obstacles after obstacles and criticism from the people that called them crazy all the time. For example, Albert Einstein was criticized all his life because they said all his theories were wrong, even his wife in kids but today E=Mc2 has been one of the best things for the people that love science .My mothers philosophy is starting to ring in my head, ricocheting, off my brain, there has never been a statue of someone that did not go through obstacles to gain the rank of leader, so many later on in life see what being a true leader is.

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  30. Tanzeel H.

    Tanzeel Hak
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English, Period 2
    6 December 2012

    In the essay “Self Reliance,” individualist thinker, Ralph Emerson said, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” Emerson meant that all of us should do what is in our best interest, while not being pressured by the ones around us. We should trust ourselves. If others want us to do something that we aren’t so fond of, we should simply decline. One person that we should always be true to is ourselves. Our destiny’s should remain in our hands and not controlled or affected by others. Once we do what’s necessary for ourselves, then we can feel content. We should do anything we desire because if we do want others want or even try to impress someone by not being our self we simply are not true to our self. How you think of yourself should never get mixed up with what others might conclude about you.

    This idea manifests in our lives because day in and day out we all have our actions that benefit us. For example, I go to school everyday. Some might say that I only do it because I am forced to, but in reality going to school is for my own best interest. It is going to benefit me more than anyone else. This simply represents Emerson’s idea of individualism. Every day most of of us stay true to ourselves by never doing anything others want us to do if it isn’t in our own best interest, while others are easily peer pressured into doing stuff like drugs, breaking rules, being violent, etc. His idea is important to one’s growth because if we don’t take our own stand we will always live behind others shadows.

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  31. Brittany-Ann D.

    Brittany-Ann V. Dela Cruz
    Keeble
    AP English
    6 December 2012

    In “Self-Reliance,” Emerson explains the importance of individualism. He believes by opposing the status-quo and following your own beliefs an individual is born. Emerson states, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” He means stepping out of boundaries and against rules is greatness. To be confident being you with the trailing misjudgment is a quality of success. There should be no shame for one to do and speak what the body and mind want. The aphorism above relates to me personally. I have been misjudged for the way I talk and dress. Others may think it is phony or peculiar, but my style and voice is what makes me different.

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  32. Kiloni D.

    Kiloni Driskell
    December 6, 2012
    AP English
    2

    The aphorism I chose was “envy is ignorance”. Emerson means that you should be content for who you are. In when someone envy’s someone or something our ignorance get in the way. We are envious of other people especially people we do not know. The idea that Emerson presents that if you knew the person you envy’s background or position you might not want to be like them anymore or want what they want. This occurs in our daily life especially in highschool. You can envy someone because they have a better phone, better clothes, better shoes, or even better hair. It may sound ridiculous but it is true. Our conscious gets in the way all the time. But in a way I think envying can motivate us like for example if someone has something you want , it makes you want to work harder for it. Same goes for school, a classmate may have an “A” and you want that, so you work harder. I had that issue my freshman year with my grades, but I got over it. You cannot be what someone else wants you to be or what anyone else thinks you should be.

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  33. Ryan C.

    Ryan C.
    Ms. Keeble
    Period 1

    In the essay “Self Reliance”, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, has a great amount of sayings about the individual. The quote, “…not cowards fleeing before a revolution”, is one of few sayings which means that you should not flee before a change but accept “transcendent destiny” as with others. This quote manifest in my life by the change that my classmates and I endure. For example, a change in the way we are learning in a classroom or the new assignments given that are very strange to us. Last year I was in a sophomore avid class and now I am in a junior avid class. The difference is that me and my classmates did twenty notes in avid sophomore class and now forty notes in junior class, so me and my class mates had to endure this change. I could of dropped out of avid when I heard that I would have to do forty notes, but I stayed and accepted the fact and work of forty notes. The quote is important to me because when given hard news or a task, we must accept the fact of change, news, and work. We should not run away from these things and that we should just deal with it.

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  34. Alicia O.

    Alicia O.
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English
    6 December 2012

    In “Self-Reliance” Emerson tries to make the reader conscious that trying to be someone else is like being dead already. He shows this through the use of aphorism like the one stated, “Imitation is suicide.” Emerson throughout the essay explains the movement known as Transcendentalist which is trying to become a better person and grow. To be oneself and not worry about following the footsteps of someone else but to be the real person that you are. Emerson emphasizes that a person has to be who he/she is and to not be depending on no one else because there is no purpose of that. Trying to act like someone else is like dying in the inside because nobody is getting to see the real person but instead just a duplicate of another person. For example, one of my family members always tries to act like the friends she hangs out with at school all tough and mean. She is just imitating who her friends are but not being who she is. Nobody is able to see the real person because the only thing my family sees is one duplicate of her friends. Nobody is able to detect who she really is so in other words juts like said by Emerson she is basically dead. This aphorism being used by Emerson basically warns us and tells us to be careful because imitating who someone else is will not lead to anything good but just to be a duplicate of another person. The person who you really are is just slowly going to be killed by the lack of being true to your personality. “Imitation is suicide” is just something that will help us realize that no matter what we should always be who we are and not be trying to be like another person who you are not.

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  35. Maria F.

    Maria Fajardo
    Period 2
    12/6/12
    In “Self-Reliance”, Emerson explains how if people copy others, than they arent being themselves and if they arent being themselves, than might aswell be dead. “Imitation is suicide.” is the quote that Emerson uses to explain it in small amount of words. In todays society people often tend to be like others.

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  36. Efrain E

    Efrain E.
    Period 1
    December 6, 2012
    In “Self Reliance”, Emerson stresses the importance of individuality and originality. He claims that it is important for each and every person to be his or her true self. That means true to one’s self no matter what other people may think. Emerson writes, “imitation is suicide”. What Emerson means is that by trying to imitate the personality of another person you are only destroying your own identity. Imitating the lifestyle of others only rids you of your uniqueness and individuality. It is as if you never existed. You are no longer seen as a unique individual, but as merely a copy of another person. Emerson’s claim fits very well in real life situations. Imitation in any form is not only a crime in some instances, but it is looked down upon in our society. If you are a designer, singer, or some other type of artist, copying someone else will not only make you look bad, it could possibly end your career. People who blatantly plagiarise or steal content from others are berated and hated, and they practically destroy their reputation from within. On the other hand, people who keep true to themselves and create their own content are seen as visionaries and amazing original artists.

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  37. Maribel Rodriguez

    Maribel Rodriguez
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English
    5 December 2012

    In the excerpts from “Self-Reliance” Emerson says, “A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done the best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace.” What Emerson is trying to prove in this statement is that when one does something that took a large amount of courage or work, one feels very happy and accomplished. I feel as if today people do not work for what they want as people used to. Things today have become more easy to acquire which is why we do not appreciate things as much. When we do for example, get our grade up in a class where we were not doing very well on, we feel proud of ourselves and have the self confidence that we can do it. Others, in the other hand, do not do anything to put themselves in a better situation. This will bring them stress and bring them no peace.

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  38. Desiree N.

    Desiree N.

    Ms. Keeble

    AP English 11

    5 December 2012

    In the document “Self Reliance”, Emerson uses a lot of aphorisms. The one that caught my attention was ” Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” Emerson means that nothing is as powerful or important than a wholesome mind. If your mind is full of knowledge and is healthy, it makes you venerable. “Self Reliance” was written about the power of relying on yourself and no one else. To rely on one’s self, your mind must be full of ideas and knowledge. You have to be mentally strong in life, you need to know how to handle problems you are bound to face. For example, my cousin and her boyfriend had a huge fight and broke up, my cousin worked through the break up and continued even though she was afraid to trust for a while. Being mentally strong will get you far in life.

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  39. Andrea O

    Andrea O.
    AP English
    5 Dec.2012
    In “Self Reliance” by Ralph W. Emerson discusses why he believes an individual should be his or her own self and make their own decisions based on what they know. An aphorism in “Self Reliance” is “Trust thyself”, which means that you should trust yourself. This relates to the ideas presented in Emerson’s essay because the emphasis of his essay seems to be individualism and by saying that individuals should trust themselves, Emerson further highlights the idea that each person should make his or her choices based on their judgment. This aphorism may also apply to our own lives because if we were to trust ourselves more instead of second guessing ourselves then we might not live with regret. I can personal relate to this because I have been through experiences that would have had a different outcome had I trusted myself more. An example of such experiences was that during one of my Calculus tests my better judgment told me that the answer was C but I doubted myself and marked A. When I got my test back I saw that if I had marked C I would have gotten an A on the test. Had I trusted myself when I took the test , I would probably have a better grade in Calculus. Another example of such a case came from the book Night (underline) by Ellie Wiesel in which Ellie and his family face the injustices of the Holocaust. Ellie’s family was warned about the true intentions of the Nazis but they were too oblivious to act on time. Had Ellie’s family trusted themselves and the people around them who had warned them then they would have probably escaped with their lives on time. In other words, not trusting oneself can even lead to the loss of lives. The idea presented is important to success or the development of one’s self because if we can not trust ourselves then we cannot have the confidence to take on bigger roles in life. This may apply to a person who is offered a higher position which requires them to take on a bigger responsibility. If this person doesn’t trust themselves they will lack faith in themselves and not take the job because they fear failure. This can also apply to a new parent who has no experience in parenting . This parent might not trust themselves and make mistakes that could have been prevented if they had just stopped for a second to think about what would make the most sense. All in all , Emerson’s aphorism “Trust thyself “ in his essay stresses the importance of an individual’s growth through trust in themselves.

    Reply
    1. tashak38 (Post author)

      Love your insight–can you tell me where you should end and begin new paragraphs? Look at natural transitions–where do you shift?

      Reply
  40. Jashleen Singh

    Jashleen Singh
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English 11, Per 2
    12/5/12

    “Imitation is suicide” is the aphormism I chose from this essay. I believe it means that trying to replicate someone else, is only destroying who you really are. The ideas in “self-reliance” are targeted towards being independent, and not being required to have approval from others. This aphormism reveals that trying to be someone else takes away your independancy, because you are relying on what/who someone else is to complete your image. This aphormism manifests in my life, because it lets me stay true to myself without worrying what someone else is doing. I completely believe that if you cary out this aphormism, it will lead you to success. Every individual is unique, however, too many of them are determined to be alike and fit in with the crowd. Those who are capable of not imitating someone else, and staying true to who they are, are the ones who have the greatest happiness, and mostly likely the most success. Living by “Imitation is suicide” can definitely develope yourself by defining your true characteristics and making you realize who you really are.

    Reply
    1. tashak38 (Post author)

      Nice. Look for extra commas. Which should be removed. When do you actually need one?–“independence”

      Reply
  41. Natasha R.

    Natasha Ramirez
    Keeble
    Ap English
    Period 5
    5 December 2012

    In Ralph W. Emerson essay “Self -Relience”, the message that he was sending out was to be orginal and not care about what others think. “… good and bad are one but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution…” This quote explains that no one should judge you for the decisions that you make becuase everyone’s morals are different. It demonstrates that following one’s heart is the best way to determine decisions in life.An example would be a relative who believes that a woman should get married and have a kid by 19 or 20 years old. Though, that woman feels different about those views , she may plan on doing something better in life before having kids and marriage. Listening to other people can at times not be a smart idea because some are influenced by peer pressure, which can be pushed onto someone else. Overal, I agree with what Emerson had stated in the quote and I can say that I do go by it.

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  42. Jessica A

    Jessica A.
    Ms.Keeble
    AP Lang. and Composition, Per. 5
    5 December 2012

    In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance,” Emerson speaks about the importance of individualism. For example, in this quote, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string,” Emerson is conveying that having confidence in your self is a step towards individualism. When you believe in yourself, you go at your own pace and at your own level to attain the goals that YOU stride for. Trusting yourself also aids in preventing an individual for making the wrong decisions, for the only one they trust is themselves. My life consists of attending school and learning on a daily basis. All the efforts I put into my success now are to be paid off when I attend college and study my desired profession. The path that I am paving for myself now is the path I’ll look back upon when I’m in college. No one else will benefit from my own pavement, and the individuals that have acted as detractors will have no significance in my future. Paying no mind to any insignificant opinion in the present has withdrawn me from trouble and has placed me in the running for success. Therefore, I conclude that relying and trusting yourself, and only yourself, helps establish the self-reliance you need to become worthy of the title “individual.”

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  43. Elisha Hussain

    Elisha Hussain
    AP English 11, Period:5
    Ms. Keeble
    December 5, 2012

    In the excerpt “Self Reliance”, Emerson included many aphorisms that were intriguing and very true. For example he states “envy is ignorance”, meaning that if you are envious of a person you are actually truly being ignorant. Also, Emerson means that when jealousy comes into your head you are actually being ignorant and not understanding the reason that you have these emotions. This aphorism manifests in our daily lives because we all become envious a person which often results into ignorance because we start pointing out the flaws in them. This is very important to a person’s success and development because as we grow older we will view the world in such a way that causes us to either be pessimistic or ignorant. I personally believe that this aphorism has applied to all of us before, but it’s just a phase that eventually passes over.

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  44. Ross H.

    Ross H
    keeble
    Apeng period 2
    5 december 2012
    In “Self-Reliance”, Emerson, through the uses of aphorisms shows that if you are not your self. Then you should be considered dead. “Imitation is suicide.” In his work Emerson is reflecting on the idea of transcendentalism. This is to look inside of ones self and try to become better. They were not be be dependent on other people ,and were to be their own person. This aphorism reveals how if you copy someone else, than you are no longer self dependent. You become another person. Emerson is advocating that you should go against the mainstream, to become your own person and live true to your self. To me this aphorism is a law in my book. People in modern society want to be like, what they see as popular. For example last night was the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. All through the night I saw girls on twitter complaining about how the do not look like the models. My first thought was to this aphorism . Some of these girls would do anything to become like what they see on the television, that they lose themselves. Just like what Emerson was warning them about. Imitation is suicide is a cautionary tale for anyone that is going down a path to become like someone else. It is warning them that if you go down that path. Then you are no longer your self, you have successfully killed a part of you.

    Reply
  45. Aaron Chon

    Aaron Chon
    Ms Keeble
    AP English 11
    06 December 2012

    In “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson demonstrates many radical ideas, being most prominently portrayed through a series of aphorisms. The main idea that Emerson is trying to inspire is that people should be true to their nature, which should be their own sense of right and wrong, rather than what people have already established. One of the many aphorisms that Emerson uses is that “To be great is to be misunderstood”. The obvious message here would be that only those that think radically can inspire radical changes, lest the orthodox continue to prevail in its methods. Before that aphorism is listed, Emerson describes a series of radicals that helped shape the way that people think, along with their own communities. A personal connection that I was able to make was to another quote that I read before in a different English class that said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” It has been a law among my ideals since youth to stand against conformity, because conformity is the lowering of one’s own existence and worth into a mold. Certainly no mold can fully capture the entirety of feelings and expressions held by an individual, yet society has built around a comfort of acceptance by fitting into that mold, as demonstrated by everyday social interactions and the culture of many nations. I find myself odd and different from others that I have never felt lonely, and believe it to be a result of major or minor Schizoid personality disorder, although I have never actually been medically diagnosed with it. Because of my own personality, Emerson’s quote resonated strongly with what I believe in. Much like what the second quote is saying, Emerson’s aphorism describes that only change will bring about improvements, as its absence will change nothing, and that is incredibly relevant for society to progress as a whole.

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  46. DaJohn Wade

    The quote I chose was, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” What Emerson means is in order to have much success and the feeling of accomplishment, you must stand out against the crowd sometimes; taking a step into a different direction may be the best decision one can make. This coincides with the idea in “Self-Reliance” by saying you really rely on yourself. No one justify a decision but you, whether it be what people want or what they are unsure about. This aphorism applies to my life because I have stepped out to be misunderstood plenty of times. The way I dress, my career choices, and the hobbies I partake in differ from what people assume my character is. My vibrant clothing loves the feeling when eyes stare in confusion. My passion in dance chuckles at the dedicated athletes that look down upon it. Staying home to produce music instead of going to a party is “dry” to my peers.
    This is important in the development of one’s self because being misunderstood can lead to multiple commas on their check. In the entertainment industry, Lil Wayne is misunderstood all the time, but he is massively wealthy. He has critics who drown him with their opinions, yet the money, fame, and success continues to pour in. This goes to show that not seeing eye to eye with society can be beneficial.

    Reply
    1. tashak38 (Post author)

      That’s beautiful. Between you and Aaron, I think I have been profoundly touched. I love reading you guy’s honest and reflective posts. Such a joy!

      Reply
  47. Johan Ocegueda

    Johan Ocegueda
    Ms. Keeble
    AP English
    4 December 2012
    Emerson in “Self Reliance” states that obsacles are set to mankind for a reason. He says”the world whips you with its displeasure.” “And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face.” What he means is that everyone has hardships in their lives. It is our job to forget everything and move on with life. Up to this day life is not perfect, there are many things that makes this world a living hell. But none of those things should be enough to stop us and take us down. Everyone has to be both mentally and physically strong in life. You have to have enough to get up everyday and walk the streets with your head held up high. There are many horrible things that happen in our world. For example, Victor Ortiz. He was the third of four kids. When he was seven years old, his mother abandoned her family to go with another man. Five years later his dad abandoned him too. He grew up taking care of his younger brother. He started boxing and now he is one of the most famous American boxers here in the U.S. He has ben through a lot. But none of that stopped him, he went ofr what he wanted and hes making it big now. He did not need help, all he needed was that heart. That heart that never gave up no matter how many times they threw it in the ground.

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