Early American Literature

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I had to read an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance". My assignment is to answer uestions about it. The uestion I am stumped on is: How important is Emerson's use of the adjective "foolish" in his discussion of consistency?

  • Early American Literature -

    What do you think?

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

    http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm

  • Early American Literature -

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