Friday, April 07, 2006

Cooke - Appreciation of the Arts

Discuss your appreciation for the arts using specific pieces of art, literature, music, or film as illustrations. (1500 characters or 300 words)

I have studied the works of Shakespeare, the poetry of Frost, and the readings of Poe. But, when I analyzed Emerson’s Self Reliance I found a niche that made literature come alive. Emerson’s philosophy of man the individual separate from yet an inclusive part of society is why the work affected me so deeply. It focused my thoughts of who I am and what I wanted in life in a manner I had never been able to verbalize. I was validated by Emerson’s belief that the mandate for conformity is a violation of the rights of the individual. Instead of society raising thinkers, leaders, and philosophers, society creates followers who become slaves to society. In distilling this concept from Emerson, I experienced the realization that it is still true today. With awareness comes the reality that even today we are not taught to think or be different but to conform. Emerson’s wisdom still cries out to us from a century and a half ago. What great men have in common is the courage to listen and act as individuals. Emerson urges us to be a product of ourselves, to live in the present, rather than measure our worth against past accomplishments or live by old ideas. These concepts of Emerson’s reinforce my core beliefs of how precious are our free will and independent judgment. Although I have always been an avid reader, I have never taken the time to contemplate the interactions of what I was reading to the events impacting my daily life until my mind was opened by the reading of Self Reliance.

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