Self Reliance

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Slavery in the United States, Self-Reliance Pages: 3 (1071 words) Published: February 16, 2014
Literary Analysis Final Essay

The Self-Reliance of Harriet Jacob’s
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” is a call for individuality. According to Emerson, individuality is when an individual takes his or her own thoughts and feelings in to account and does not perform actions based off of what their surroundings think. Emerson notes that society is the blame for the way many people act in certain situations because they tend to forget to trust in their self and their own instincts. Not trusting in your own instinct opens a door for discomfort and unoriginality which in return closes the door for an individual’s voice to be heard. In my opinion, being self reliant is bringing one’s inner views on what is true and meaningful to them, to the light. While in the process of doing so, they enrich a community through the diversity of their individual actions. Emerson demonstrates individuality through conformity, and the aboriginal self, which modifies the egotism of self reliance. Harriet Jacobs implements Emerson’s thoughts on “Self-Reliance”, conformity, and the aboriginal self by being able to relate through her bravery against all man, not conforming to the world (as she struggled to be herself), and not taking the same route of life as the other slaves.

Harriet Jacobs begins relating to Emerson by her ability to be brave against all man. Being brave is being self reliant. Again, self reliance is when an individual is able to rely on their own thoughts and feelings. They trust in their self and they believe that they can do whatever their heart desires. It takes a strong, hard-working, self-reliant individual to be brave and make decisions off of what they feel is best for them and that is exactly what Harriet Jacob’s did. Harriet was not the average woman. Her desire to be the odds of the average African American slave made it hard for her to fulfill the freedom she knew she could get. However, she was brave in her quest for real, un-purchased...
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