In his essay “Education,” Ralph Waldo Emerson argues that education is not about learning facts, but about building character. He makes this argument by using a variety of rhetorical devices, such as Pathos, Logos, and ethos.
Pathos is used when Emerson talks about how education should make people “feel their own worth.” This is because Pathos is an emotional appeal that speaks to the reader’s feelings.
Logos is used when Emerson states that education should be “drawing out” what is already inside the student. This is because Logos is a logical appeal that uses reasoning to persuade the reader.
Ethos is used throughout the essay when Emerson talks about his own experiences with education. This is because Ethos is an appeal to credibility, and by sharing his own experiences, Emerson makes himself more credible to the reader.
These three rhetorical devices work together to create a strong argument for Emerson’s view on education. He believes that education should be about more than just learning facts; it should be about building character. And by using Pathos, Logos, and Ethos, he creates a persuasive argument in favor of his view.
In “Education”, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a transcendentalist thinker, claims that Education is broken and offers a remedy – the educators. He makes this argument in the first place by pointing to the paradox between “Genius and Drill.” Throughout the essay, he maintains a condemning tone against the educator, but towards the conclusion he changes his tone to one of comfort.
The first sentence of Emerson’s “Education” introduces the paradox he will be exploring in the essay – the relationship between “Genius and Drill”. He states that, “A great man is always willing to be little”. From this, Emerson is saying that in order for somebody to be educated they must first be humble and understand that they do not know everything. This is where the educators come into play because it is their job to instill this ideal into their students. Next, Emerson claims that all children are geniuses and it is society that suppresses these geniuses.
He says, “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion” Here, Emerson is saying that it is the duty of the educators to break these chains that society has put on children so that they can be their own person and think for themselves.
Throughout “Education”, Emerson has a condemning tone against educators. He states that they are “the agents of society” and because of this they have “a soul dead to all noble impulse”. This means that because educators play such a big role in society, they are not able to think for themselves and be their own person.
Emerson believes that this is detrimental to the education system because it does not allow for creativity and originality. However, towards the end of the essay, Emerson’s tone changes from condemning to comforting. He says, “I rejoice that things are as they are, and especially that America is American” This shift in tone shows that Emerson has come to terms with the education system and he is now accepting of it.
Emerson’s goal in “The Experience of Learning” is to persuade educators to utilize the teaching method by utilizing paradoxes, rhetorical questions, and changes in tone. Educators who place a premium on attention to detail will appreciate his informative and didactic tone.
“Respect the child. In every true man there is a child concealed that wants to be educated.” (1)
This statement sets up a conflict between the two styles of education.
On one hand, there is the authoritative style in which the educator tells the student what they must learn.
On the other hand, Emerson argues for a more sympathetic style in which educators respect the students and help them discover what they are interested in learning.
He believes that if educators can find out what it is that makes each individual child special and different then they will be able to create an educational system that can truly benefit society as a whole.
“It is time for society to wake from its dream of material wealth and to realize that the real wealth of any nation lies in the character of its people.”
In order to create a more compassionate educational system, Emerson believes that we must first understand why children are so important. He argues that children are the future and that they hold the key to making the world a better place.
“The true secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, but it is your business only to point out to him the way in which he may learn.” Emerson stresses the importance of educators listening to their students and giving them the opportunity to explore their interests.
In “The World as a Teacher,” Emerson raises the issue of drill versus genius. He backs this up with information for instructors on the natural talents of their pupils, implying that these kids have advanced mental abilities and require space to grow them on their own. To combat drilling, Emerson employs short, straightforward language such as, “Give a boy accurate ideas.”
He continues this trend when he claims, “The real and lasting education comes from within.” Emerson believes that if educators allow students to find their own way, they will be able to grow into their potential.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher and poet who wrote ‘Education’ in 1841. In this essay, Emerson argues that the best way to educate people is by allowing them to find their own way and develop their own potential. He states that the education system should not focus on drill, but instead on giving students accurate perceptions. Emerson believes that if educators allow students to find their own way, they will be able to grow into their potential. This is a complex idea that he supports by using various rhetorical devices.