Ralph Waldo Emerson Power Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson Power Essay-75
Central to defining Emerson’s contribution to American thought is his emphasis on non-conformity that had so profound an effect on Thoreau.Self-reliance and independence of thought are fundamental to Emerson’s perspective in that they are the practical expressions of the central relation between the self and the infinite.Equally important to his intellectual development was the influence of his paternal aunt Mary Moody Emerson.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson, a Transcendentalist, felt that the self is an autonomous spirit which acts according to universal moral laws.

Located in all objects, this spiritual self develops from communion with nature.

Graduating in the middle of his class, Emerson taught in his brother William's school until 1825 when he entered the Divinity School at Harvard.

The pattern of Emerson's intellectual life was shaped in these early years by the range and depth of his extracurricular reading in history, literature, philosophy, and religion, the extent of which took a severe toll on his eyesight and health.

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Emerson was one of five surviving sons who formed a supportive brotherhood, the financial and emotional leadership of which he was increasingly forced to assume over the years.

"Waldo," as Emerson was called, entered Harvard at age fourteen, taught in the summer, waited tables, and with his brother Edward, wrote papers for other students to pay his expenses.

Not surprisingly, some of Emerson’s key ideas are popularizations of both European as well as Eastern thought.

From Goethe, Emerson also drew the notion of “bildung,” or development, calling it the central purpose of human existence.

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