exile paper

exile paper - Britton Bixby 11/7/07 College Composition...

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Britton Bixby 11/7/07 College Composition Kellen Graham Those outside mainstream society, whether by choice or circumstance, are often thought to be exiled . The traditional meaning of exile is a forced removal from one’s homeland; however, there are several variations and manipulations of exile that manifest itself in everyday life . Many will hastily label outsiders as exiles without really pondering the meaning of the word . The common assumption is that these people are either being punished for violating societal rules, or that they are unable to benefit from the society in which they are a part of . In either case, those considered exiled are often looked down upon . What most fail to understand is that many who are exiled do not need mainstream acceptance, nor do they want it . Exile does not necessarily refer to the term in a geographical sense, for true exile is a state of mind, a sense of dissimilarity with the status quo . Such is the case of Ralph Waldo Emerson, as he writes in his essay “Self Reliance . Emerson writes of institutionalized injustice in American government and mainstream society’s unwillingness to fight it for fear of consequences . Emerson writes that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines . With consistency a great soul has nothing to do . To conform
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takes no thought, it is in rebellion that a person utilizes the nature of being human, that is realizing the power of the mind to challenge commonly held beliefs or practices . Emerson points out that the most influential thinkers of society were at first 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 . Emerson’s viewed his own exile not in a negative or positive light, but as more of his
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exile paper - Britton Bixby 11/7/07 College Composition...

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