Self Help

A. Samuel Smiles was a Scottish author and government reformer. His father died of cholera so his mother had to work very hard to support him and his many siblings. This example set by his mother had a great influence on his life and certainly this book.

C. Published during the Victorian Era in Britain, this book made Smiles quite famous. The book has been called the bible of “mid-Victorian Liberalism.”

L. The language is simple and inspiring. It is a guide to personal betterment, similar to many books today.

A. The audience is the average working man of the late 1800s. It was not likely directed towards women as it does not mention females at all. While the book stressed he importance of the working man for progress, it does not say that the famous and wealthy cannot help progress society.

I. The intent of the book is to inspire people to work hard and better themselves. He also informed people that work is better than reading for progress.

M. Smiles first pointed out the importance of hard work for personal improvement. He then ┬ástressed the need for personal growth from within, not from from outside influences. He expanded the scope of his argument by examining government’s role in progress. Smiles believed that anything past protection of basic rights was a hinderance on progress–defined by Smiles as energy, industry, and uprightness. Since a government is only as good as the people of which it is comprised, he said that people must take what their ancestors have developed and improve upon it so that their successors may continue the trend. Lastly, he noted that the common working man who inspires others to better themselves is just as important as the men whose names appear in the history books.

One thought on “Self Help

  1. I also picked up on the fact that women were not mentioned at all in this text. It seemed to be geared for the working man and his ideals only. He also seems to try and rally the working class men by telling them they are just as crucial as those who came before them and achieved fame. You hinted at this in the very end of your post.

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