Metaphor in Self-Reliance

Self - Reliance 4
"He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose..."   (Self - Reliance)

This metaphor shows how humans and nature act differently. Emerson says that humans are “ashamed” of their own thoughts and feelings, and he then goes on to point out that nature is never “ashamed.” He calls for humans to return to their natural state and to stop overthinking and worrisome behavior.

"no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till..."   (Self - Reliance)

This metaphor explains that people cannot expect that brilliance and success will come strictly from education and waiting for greatness to come; rather, one’s greatest intelligence comes from using the life and the brain they were given at birth.

"blindman's-buff..."   (Self - Reliance)

Blindman’s-buff is a game similar to tag, but the person trying to catch the other players is blindfolded. This metaphor means that people who chose to conform to societal norms are simply living their life blindfolded, rather than opening their eyes and seeing the plethora of opportunities the world has to offer.

" Society is a joint-stock company..."   (Self - Reliance)

A joint-stock company is a company that allows people to buy stock in it; owners of the stock are then able to share in profits and losses. This metaphor means that people both benefit and suffer by living in a society.