Do You Think That There Is Too Little or Too Much Emphasis on Self-Reliance and Individualism in America Today? What Might Emerson Think of Today's Focus on the Individual?

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In society today, most people can be themselves. Most do not feel the need to hide who they truly are anymore while some still can only “half express [themselves]” because they are embarrassed of the “idea which each of [them] represents” (186). I feel as if there is still too little emphasis on self-reliance and individualism in America today, because some are still ashamed of themselves and rely on others too much.

As the years pass, fewer people discriminate, but there are still many that still do, causing others to “half express [themselves]” (186). Gays and lesbians are afraid to come out of the closet because they were told that it wasn’t right to be anything but straight. Society made them feel ashamed of themselves. They might give off hints and their friends might be able to tell, but they would never actually come out. If individualism was stressed more, gays or lesbians would no longer need to hide who they truly are. Even worse, proposition 8 restricts the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples only. They would be accepted, but as of now, they are not because there is not enough emphasis on individualism.

“No kernel of nourishing corn” will just appear out of thin air; only “through [their] toil bestowed” will something of that sort happen (185). People can’t expect to receive something when they didn’t work for it. For example, homeless people depend on other people’s sympathy and donations to survive. Rather than getting off their butts and finding a job, they sit around waiting for help to come to them. If self-reliance was strained some more, maybe we’d have less homeless people standing in corners begging for money in the world. They’d be out looking for jobs, but in the meantime, there are homeless shelters and soup kitchens to help them, until they can get back on their feet because there is not enough emphasis on self-reliance.

If Emerson were still alive today, he would be disappointed, but he would feel as if he got most of his...
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