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Quotes in Friendship

Quotes Examples in Friendship:


🔒 3

"A friend therefore is a sort of paradox in nature...."   ("Friendship")

Here, Emerson gets to the crux of his argument. Plainly put, a friend is a “paradox,” a contradiction, or a puzzle. Emerson sees himself as a lonely renegade—“I who alone am”—yet nevertheless, he still finds merit in forming strong bonds with others. These friends, although in different terrestrial shapes and forms, “behold… the semblance of [his] being,” as if Emerson himself were reincarnated in a different body. A friend, in Emerson’s opinion, is like a mirror to himself, and thus, a “masterpiece of nature.”

"I chide society, I embrace solitude..."   ("Friendship")

Another essay published in the same compendium, Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, outlines his transcendentalist perspective, which praises independent thought over collective pressures: “It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” In “Friendship,” Emerson echoes and builds upon the same beliefs. While he highly values solitude, he also sees the merit in interacting with like-minded, intellectually-inclined people.

"But as soon as the stranger begins to intrude his partialities, his definitions, his defects, into the conversation, it is all over...."   ("Friendship")

While at first, Emerson seems to describe the positive qualities of friendship, here the essay explores one of friendship’s major paradoxes: while the forming of friendships may stir one’s excitement, the maintenance of friendship can easily deteriorate the more someone gets to know another. As Emerson makes clear throughout the essay, there is a fine line that delineates when friendships begin to turn sour.

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