Friendship: Michel De Montaigne and Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the essay “Friendship” by Ralph Waldo Emerson the importance of that special bond between two people is constantly conveyed to the reader. Emerson breaks down and explains the different aspects of friendship that we sometimes forget or overlook. He reminds us that acquaintanceship is something to be cherished and that we should never take the people that love us unconditionally for granted. Emerson’s frequent use of inspiring and thought-provoking quotes helps the reader understand where he is coming from.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this essay to share his view on friendship with the public. He wants us to understand how vital friends are in life and without them we have “not fully lived”. Emerson did not write this essay for a specific reason other than trying to spread his views with everyone. The audience for “Friendship” would be for those who are 13 and older. Although there is nothing offensive in this essay, children under the age of 13 would most likely not be able to comprehend and dive into the story like Emerson is wanting.

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Emerson wrote this essay to persuade the audience to feel the same way he does about acquaintanceship. Rather than forcing his opinions on the reader, he gives a copious amount of ideas and examples which make the reader think. His clever use of words makes the reader want to have the same opinion on the topic as Emerson does. Throughout the essay we get a feel of what Ralph Waldo Emerson was like in his every day life. The audience can gather that he was a very genuine, kind-hearted man. Emerson slips in his religious views from time and again so the reader can also tell he was a very godly person.

Due to the way Emerson writes the reader can form a connection with him, ultimately agreeing with his views and opinions. The essay “Friendship” begins with a poem that automatically draws the reader in and makes them become interested in what else Emerson has to say. The first sentence of the essay starts off with an eye-catching simile, “We have a great selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like fine ether. ” This sentence allows then reader to connect with the essay.

We all know the selfishness he is talking about, whether we like to admit it or not. The simile makes the reader want to dive into the rest of the story. Emerson concludes his essay by providing multiple thought-provoking sentences. He leaves the essay off with, “The essence of friendship is entireness, a total magnanimity and trust. It must not surmise or provide for infirmity. It treats its object as a god, that it may deify both. ”  These three sentences make the reader realize how powerful and haunting a friendship can be.