Essay: American Literature Comparing and Contrasting Ideas Ralph

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American Literature

Comparing and Contrasting Ideas

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Fredrick Douglas both express their ideas and philosophies on a person's happiness and self-fulfillment. Both of these authors have very strong opinions on what they believe constitutes true self-satisfaction. In order to be truly satisfied with not only the way one is living one's life, but with how one carries oneself everyday, one must acquire internal knowledge to do so. Believing in oneself is what will allow a person to not only be self-reliant, but to also defend themselves in times of trouble. Both authors view this as being pertinent to an individual. Emerson writes, "Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind." Emerson expresses his belief in attaining knowledge to truly be satisfied, and in order to really excel. Douglas also agrees with this concept of never giving up; being determined is what allows one to get far. When referring to finally giving in to his determination he states, "I felt as I never felt before."

Although both authors believe in the ability for a person's determination to get them ahead in life, they differ in the way that this self-determination is attained. Emerson believes that this determination comes from the within, embedded in one's soul. He states, "Trust thyself: Every heart vibrates to that iron string." Douglass however believes that self-determination comes from learning that determination is needed in order to get ahead. Douglass talks about this when he finally got his freedom. He states, "This battle with Mr. Convey was the turning point in my career as a slave...It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free." Both authors believe that believing in oneself is the key to happiness and self-fulfillment, but where that determination comes from varies in their descriptions.

3.2B: A New Ending

Mrs. Sommer's wanted that car to continue as she was afraid of going back to her normal life. She did not enjoy having to be frugal about everything, and not being able to spend the little money that she had for herself. Fifteen dollars seemed like a lot to her, meaning that she either has learned to appreciate the value of money because she once had it, or knows that fifteen dollars is a lot because she has had nothing at all. Her life after this incident is one where she will keep reliving the past. As much as she had avoided doing that before, this day seemed important enough to keep thinking about what it was that she would never be able to have again. The responsibilities that she had with her children were ones that she will forever have. She will not be able to indulge herself like that again, as it is her children that will come first, as they always have before.

Satisfaction will never be present in Mrs. Sommer's life, at least not the way that it is now. She got a taste for the fast life again, the life where money was not her first thought, but only satisfaction. This event will mark a turning point of her life and she will never be able to fully indulge herself in the things that she wishes she had. Although this moment could have been seen as a last day to feel what she used to feel, knowing that her desire for the car to continue and never stop was present, makes one believe that Mrs. Sommers will forever yearn for days like the one that she had that day.

3.3B: Short Fiction or Poem

Bombs bursting on the ground

For the purpose of resolution

Finding violence as a way

To bring conflict a conclusion

Always thinking that death

Is a better alternative to peace

Instead of talking out a plan

In order for a solution to be reached

Senseless acts of hostility

Bring a loss of hope to those once bright

And the only thing that they see lighting up

Are the skies from fire at night

War brings along more pain

To families who sometimes have no choice

Their thoughts and concerns aren't considered

No one hears their voice

And on the final day

When war is no longer present

Ruin and death can be seen

And no way to forget it

The winning nation will have one more point

Added to their honor and respect

And with that comes the reputation

Of ending… [END OF PREVIEW]

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American Literature Comparing and Contrasting Ideas Ralph.  (2011, September 23).  Retrieved October 13, 2019, from

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"American Literature Comparing and Contrasting Ideas Ralph."  September 23, 2011.  Accessed October 13, 2019.