Rousseau: Summary of Emile Book 1

Rousseau Book One (summary)                                                           
“Emile” is the famous book written by Rousseau in 1762. It is an imaginary description of the education of a baby named Emile. This book contains five chapters . In the first book Rousseau discussed the physical development and careful nurturing of a baby. In the first book , Rousseau has discussed the development of an infant, where as he describes an infant as the one who cannot speak.Rousseau is of the view that a person is born well by nature and he or she is fashioned by education. His detailed views regarding nurturing of a baby is discussed in below:
Baby is dependent                                                       
Rousseau is of the view that we are born weak, stupid, and lacking everything so we need the help of some one else around us. All that we lack at birth is given to us by education. An infant can not eat, drink, walk, speaks, and so on by himself so he needs some external help at this stage.
Categories of education according to Rousseau
There are three main categories of education given by Rousseau these include: education of nature, education of men, and education of things. Education of nature related with our inner growth of our organs and facilities on the other hand the use we learn to make of this growth is the education of men and education of things is what we gain by our experience of our surroundings. Thus we are taught by three masters: nature, men and things.
He says that baby is born good but it is the environment and men who make a baby to learn some evils; like speaking lie, backbiting and so on.    
According to Rousseau the best nurse is the mother and the best teacher for the baby is the father. Rousseau is strictly against sending to baby to some one else where baby will be taught, he is saying that nurses do not have that much love for the baby which the real parents have. so they can not train a baby in a right way.

Making a man or making a citizen    
According to him the sense of living for others should be developed in the child rather than living for himself. He is saying that at one time these both areas can not be developed by the teacher in the child. He suggested that choose between making a man and making citizens because both at one time is not possible. If some one tries to teach both than he will be good neither for himself nor for other.
Natural man
According to Rousseau natural man is everything for himself but, good institutions are those that who knows how to denature man to take away his absolute existence in order to give him a relative one, and to transport the “me” into a common unity.
Best educated person
 According to Rousseau the best educated is one who endures the good and evil of life. Hence it flows that true education is consists of less in percept than in practice.
To live is not to breathe but to act
Baby should be trained in different areas for instance, he should be taught how to swim, how to bear the clod weather and so on. so that in the absence of parents he can survive easily and will have capabilities to face the upcoming challenges. The man who has lived the most is not he who has counted most years but he who has most felt life.
The first language of a baby
The first language of a new born baby is “crying” so this is the duty of a mother to understand hi/her language. if a baby is crying then try to find out the reason which made him crying than try to reduce his pain rather than to beat him or to shout at him.
Freedom of baby
The child should be given freedom to move, to walk, to do, or to act and so on, the newly born child needs to stir and stretch his limbs to free them from the stiffness resulting from being curled up so long. His limbs are stretch indeed, but he is not allowed to move them. Even the head is confined by a cap. One would think they were afraid the child should look as if he were alive. It means that Rousseau is totally against of wrapping a child in a piece of cloth for a long time, the child should be free to exercise and he should his organs as he can
Use of Mask for baby                                                                                                      
All children afraid of different things which they rarely encountered in the life for example dog, lion and so on. So child should be trained for these things by removing fear from them. One technique parents can use is the use of MASK; parents can begin by showing a mask with a pleasant face. Then some one put this mask before his face. Degrees one can accustom him to less pleasing mask and at last hideous one. If one can arrange these stages skillfully, far from being afraid of the last mask, he will laugh at it as he did at the first.
If in a childhood he sees toads, snakes and fish etc he will not be afraid of any animal when he is grown up. Those who are continually seeing terrible things think nothing of them.    
Do not confine a baby in tight wrappings
No cap, no bandages nor swaddling cloths. Loose and flowing flannels wrappers which leaves its limbs free and not too heavy to check his movements not too warm to prevent his feeling the air. Instead put him in a big cradle well padded where he will move easily and safely.              
Building of habit in a baby /bathe                                                     
Rousseau emphasized on building habits in children which will help him in latter life. For instance he is saying that train a child to bathe occasionally in hot water of every bearable degree and often in every bearable degree of cold water. Now water being a denser fluid touches us at more points than air, so that having learnt all the variations of temperature in water, we shall scarcely feel this of the air. This habit of bathe once established should never be broken off it must be kept up all through life.
The only habit the child should be allowed to contract is that of no habit; let him be carried on either arm; let him be accustomed to offer either hand, to use one or other indifferently; let him not want to eat, sleep or anything in fixed time nor unable to be left alone by day or night.     

When a Baby education starts?
Rousseau is of the view that a child education begin at birth, before he can speak or understand he is learning. Experiences precede instruction; when he recognizes his nurse he has learnt much. The knowledge of the most ignorant man would surprise us if we had followed his course from the birth to the present time.   
Should a Baby provide immediate help when he or she cries?  
Prolonged cry does not harm the child. Be careful when a child cries, try to find out the reason if he is in real pain and his/her pain can be removed by some effort then immediate action should be taken. If he/she is crying without any reason and the care taker tries to calm him/her then he will become quite for today but cry louder tomorrow if you become careless these tears become command.
What to do for a useless or unnecessary cry of a baby?    
As their thinking stronger they use adults to carry out their wishes and supplement their own weaknesses. To cure prolonged cry do not pay attention, no one likes to take useless pains. If it is not possible to remove the pain then do not try to sooth otherwise he will become your master.
What should be done when a baby ask a thing to bring it him?
In the first case bring it to him slowly; in the second do not even seem to hear his cries. The more he cries the less you should heed him. He must learn in good time not give commands to men, for he is not their master nor to things, for they cannot hear him. Thus when a baby wants something you mean to give him, it is better to carry him to it rather then to bring the things to him. Form this he will draw a conclusion suited to his age and there is no other way of suggesting it to him.  
The weaning period of a baby
Weaning time begins when they start cutting their teeth. Commonly he is given a hard thing for soothing; actually it is not a helpful but making the process of teething painful. for example puppies tries to chew wood, leather, rags and soft materials on which tooth leaves mark and not hard things like bones, iron or pebbles. Porridge is not suitable for them, first thing for chewing: dried fruit or crust, instead they can be given a small branch of a tree with its leaves and fruit, a little poppy flower in which one can hear the seeds shake, liquorices, he/she which may suck and chew. Rattles and other such teeth are of no use. They are just tools of making them materialized.     
Speaking period of a child and his/her training
Always utter proper and complete words. Speech differences; a peasant child and a city dwellers child. Little faults of speech can be removed but the fear and shyness which is caused by criticism can not e cured. Do not to help when child begins to stammer, be patient and let him try to make you understand. Do not pressurize the child to start speaking; otherwise they get confused in their speech. If they start speaking on pressure they will have problems their pronunciations.
So we can see that an infant progresses in different ways. He/she learns to talk, eat, and walk about the same time.
Should a baby given to nurse for caring
According to Rousseau the baby should not be given to any nurse because they do not have that love which hi/her real parents have for him/her. He is saying that the best nurse for a baby is his/her mother and the best teacher is father. The one who he /she is not educated how he/she can educate a baby; this is really cheating with a baby.
Food for mother 
Instead of changing the nurse usual diet it would be better to give food in larger quantities and better of its kind. It is not the nature of the food that makes a vegetables diet indigestible, but the flavoring that makes it unwholesome.   
Some principles of nature that need to be followed
There are some principles of nature that should be followed otherwise deviations occur in child’s personality. First rule: Nature has given superfluous strength to a child. Nature demands to utilize those energies otherwise they can be abused. Second rule: they should be helped with their weakness, for example physical care, help from falling, touching sensitive things, hot things and so on. Third rule: limit the amount of unnecessary help, help only when there is a dire reason. Fourth rule: one must study their signs and language carefully and should understand what a baby want to say or asks.


Khushhal Khan
M-Ed final year NDIE, 2011-2012
Dated: 17/12/2011


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