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Ralph Waldo Emerson

April 1, 2014

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I was thinking of this quotation today, and my appreciation for Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I talked about him in all of my college admission interviews.

I had read “Self-Reliance” in my Introduction to AP English class in junior year of high school. I loved the man. His writings are so pure. They are timeless because they express an objective clarity of thought which we rarely encounter today.

In the spirit of Whitman’s barbaric yawp, they display a self-possession as well as a courage to be proud of one’s own genius.

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Coincidentally or perhaps not, I felt this way about myself in high school more than at any other time in the past few years. In other areas of my life and my person, I had yet to develop. But the freedom I valued highly in those days was the freedom to immerse myself in literature.

I borrowed extensively from the Stamford Public Library. I spent long Saturday afternoons wandering past names I recognized and those I didn’t. I read Lawrence Ferlinghetti while lying in the grass. I read Leaves of Grass while lying in my bed. I taught myself Robert Frost and e e cummings by heart and recited their verses before falling asleep and while floating in the gentle waves at Cape May Point, staring out toward the distant line of blue meeting blue, somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond.

It is something to be grateful for, the opportunity to encounter the classics for the first time. As we are becoming ourselves, they become us, too.Ralph-Waldo-Emerson

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