What does Emerson emphasize in his essay and Langston Hughes in his poem? How can you connect or relate these 2 assigned readings to today’s society? Has anything changed since the time these essays and poems were written? Based on what you have read, why is it important to share these character traits in Emerson’s essay or address Hughes’s concerns? Include the things you have learned from a Guide to Rhetoric and from the assigned readings. Also, make sure to give your point of view as well. Please be sure to use examples to illustrate your point of view and/or make connections to what you have read.



Sample Answer

Sample Answer

Connecting Emerson’s Essay and Langston Hughes’s Poem to Today’s Society

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay “Self-Reliance,” emphasizes the importance of individualism, self-trust, and nonconformity. He encourages readers to trust their instincts, embrace their unique qualities, and resist societal pressures to conform. On the other hand, Langston Hughes, in his poem “Harlem,” explores the deferred dreams and aspirations of African Americans in the face of systemic racism and oppression.

In today’s society, Emerson’s emphasis on self-reliance and nonconformity remains relevant as individuals navigate a world shaped by social media, consumerism, and conformity. The pressure to fit in, meet societal expectations, and seek external validation can hinder personal growth and authenticity. By embracing Emerson’s principles of self-reliance and individualism, individuals can cultivate a sense of empowerment and confidence in expressing their true selves.

Similarly, Hughes’s concerns about deferred dreams and the impact of systemic racism resonate in contemporary society. Despite progress in civil rights and equality, racial disparities persist in areas such as education, employment, healthcare, and criminal justice. The legacy of historical injustices continues to shape the experiences of marginalized communities, highlighting the ongoing need for social justice reform and anti-racist initiatives.

Since the time these essays and poems were written, some progress has been made in addressing issues of individualism, self-reliance, racial inequality, and social justice. However, systemic barriers and prejudices still exist, underscoring the importance of sharing Emerson’s character traits of self-reliance and addressing Hughes’s concerns about racial injustice.

Emerson’s call for self-reliance encourages individuals to trust their inner wisdom, pursue their passions, and assert their independence in a society that often values conformity over individuality. By embodying self-reliance, individuals can resist external influences that may compromise their values and authenticity.

Addressing Hughes’s concerns about racial inequality requires acknowledging and dismantling systems of oppression that perpetuate discrimination and marginalization. It is essential to amplify marginalized voices, advocate for equity and justice, and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

In conclusion, the themes of self-reliance and social justice explored by Emerson and Hughes offer valuable insights into navigating today’s complex societal landscape. By embracing individualism, advocating for equity, and challenging systemic injustices, individuals can contribute to a more compassionate, inclusive, and just society. Sharing these character traits from Emerson’s essay and addressing Hughes’s concerns are essential steps towards fostering personal growth, social change, and collective well-being in contemporary society.

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