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Huckleberry Finn And His "Clothes" Essay

1436 words - 6 pages

In Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" he aims to persuade the reader simultaneously promoting the principles of transcendentalism which, after all, turns out to be a great self- help source. Through Self-Reliance Emerson expresses his views, understanding, and reasons that lead to such views, on religion, education, art, and society. Defending his reasoning, Emerson provides the reader a number of vivid examples and simultaneously creates the proof for his understanding of reason's uses to question what we are perceived to know. Closer to conclusion Emerson states that greater self-reliance will lead to a revolution. Then, he connects this theory to society and all of its aspects, including religion, education, and art.Overall, Ralph Waldo claims that the true basis for self-reliance is connection between an individual and nature (which is also his inner voice) which is important for a that individuals intellectual, aesthetic, and moral health and development. As for society and individual's relationship to it, Emerson believes that being an individual comes from trusting your inner voice and always being honest with yourself. In addition, Emerson describes his view of what an individual is, and how the one becomes an individual in his opinion, by addressing all the various parts that consist of an individual. Besides, according to Emerson, one must follow what they believe is true for themselves and not listen to what other people think. He writes, "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 perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." Put another way, what Emerson suggests is that if one can live in a world full of people who think a certain way because they were taught to believe that way, but still hold your own ground and follow what you believe, you are a great person.Likewise, in Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" there are a number of examples where Huck's choice of what to wear (or not to wear) appears as a symbol of self- reliance. The most evident one appears in the beginning of the book where Huck tells how he got out of the clothes given him by the widow and wore his old rags. The hidden meaning is that Huck felt better in his old rags as that kind of state was natural to him, while fancy and nice clothes, as well as civilization and "living in the house all time" (Twain 11) was unnatural and didn't go along with his nature; in other words Huck didn't feel comfortable the way society forced him to appear. The second place where the one may notice the symbolism of clothes is when Huck, after being kidnapped by his father, claims that his clothes have become "all rags and dirt" (p. 32), however, he also says that "It was pretty good times up in the woods there, take it all around", which, I believe, means that he was closer to his natural state, to the woods and to the nature overall. Third time Hucks'...

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