Understanding Nonconformity, Integrity, And Self Reliance Essay

2360 Words Apr 22nd, 2015 10 Pages
The Emersonian Scholar: Understanding Nonconformity, Integrity, and Self-Reliance
We are all victims of conformity, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. We change the way we behave or think in response to social pressures by accepting society’s expectations of us. Human beings naturally want to be functioning parts of society, and others have the power to influence what they believe and how they behave; therefore, the process of becoming an Emersonian scholar is extremely complex. It is impossible to improve society to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s standards with the blink of an eye, but it is possible to start on a small scale and make adjustments to one’s own individual life. By doing this, we can branch away from certain social influences and approach life with a true Emersonian spirit.
In 1837 at Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ralph Waldo Emerson (American essayist, lecturer, and poet) delivered his address, “The American Scholar,” to the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa society. In this address, Emerson encourages American scholars to create original literature that is separate from European influence and ties of the past; he states, “Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close” (283). He urges scholars to think independently, innovatively, and critically in order to create and strengthen an American tradition of literature. Emerson wants scholars to learn how to read differently from the ways advocated by past cultures and colleges;…

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