What Is "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson About?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 29, 2020 10:51:23 PM ET
Nicolás Boullosa/CC-BY-2.0

Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance" is an essay based on the combined experiences of Emerson's life, based on journals and lectures between 1832 and 1839, and it focuses on the importance of being self-sufficient. One of the epigraphs on the first edition was a Latin phrase meaning "Don't seek outside of yourself." The essay has three different parts: the significance of self-reliance, the individual and self-reliance, and society and self-reliance.