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Simile in Self-Reliance

Simile Examples in Self-Reliance:

Self-Reliance

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"A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza;..."   (Self-Reliance)

An acrostic stanza is a poem in which letters from each line form a word that can be read vertically on the page. Notice how Emerson consistently reinforces his main argument; here he supports it with the idea that humans have only their nature, no matter how they act it will never change. Notice the subtle use of alliteration, one of Emerson’s preferred rhetorical devices.

"would sink like darts into the ear of men and put them in fear...."   (Self-Reliance)

This simile conveys the phenomenon that when people think about the idea of freedom in solitude, the idea goes deep into the mind because it seems right. However Emerson also points out that when we enter the populace again, we forget these thoughts of freedom.

"as the inequalities of Andes and Himmaleh are insignificant in the curve of the sphere..."   (Self-Reliance)

The Andes are a large mountain range in South America and the Himmaleh (Himalayas) are a large mountain range in Asia. Although the Andes are a significantly longer mountain range, the Himalayas are made up of significantly taller mountains. This simile says that each individual's talents are significant in their own way and need not be compared to anyone else’s.

"Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee..."   (Self-Reliance)

This simile alludes to a story in the Old Testament, in which Jacob’s son Joseph goes to Egypt and is falsely accused of raping “the harlot” (the Pharaoh’s wife). She tries to use Joseph’s coat as evidence after he purposefully leaves it behind. The simile means that no matter what you are told to be true, the most important truths come from yourself and not from the mouths of others.

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