Ralph Waldo Emerson and Persuasive Rhetoric

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Emerson uses persuasive rhetoric and several literary devices such as metaphors and parallelism to convey his transcendental ideas of the dangers of conformity and the importance of being an individual in "Self-Reliance".

Emerson writes using persuasive rhetoric to convey his logical ideas of the dangers of conformity that faces mankind and the importance of being an individual. "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immoral palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness." Emerson is stating that if a man truly wants to become an individual that he must question every orthodox belief that faces him and he must decide what he believes to be true, not what the masses think to be true. Emerson writes in this persuasive rhetoric to try and convince the reader of the potential dangers of conformity as society will harm the individuals. "Society everywhere is a conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." Emerson states how that man must be self-reliant and trust themselves and trust the way God made them in order to an individual. "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string." Through this Emerson is making a direct appeal to the reader that they too fall into the category of those who must trust themselves to make the right decisions. Emerson's use of his persuasive style of rhetoric to convey his transcendental ideas is matched by his use of literary devices to convey his theory of the importance of life.

Emerson uses literary devices such as parallelism and metaphors to convey his theory of the importance of self-reliance and the dangers of conformity. "Envy is ignorance; the imitation is suicide". This simple parallelism is used to show that man is what he puts into himself and not what others make of him. The parallelism is also used to warn of the dangers of conformity and that a man who does not think for himself is not a living man, but is a soul-less being...
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