Although Emile's archtypical mother quickly fades from view and is replaced by the tutor Jean-Jacques, the image of Emile growing up within a protected zone that shelters him from the crowded highways of cosmopolitan life remains vivid throughout the entire book. The "fence" will serve to protect Emile's amour de soi.
In Rousseau's writings amour de soi refers to a primary form of self-love that motivates all human behavior. Rousseau sees it as an innocent instinct for self-preservation that compels one to satisfy only immediate needs and that includes compassion for the suffering of others. In contrast, amour-propre is a secondary, or derivative, instinct that develops as soon as we begin to make comparisons of ourselves with others.
In contradistinction to both Hobbes and Freud, who saw human beings as motivated by a single egoistical drive (for Hobbes it was aggression, for Freud it was sex) Rousseau thus recognizes the presence of two very distinct forms of self-love.
In an extended note "O" in his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Rousseau explains his understanding of human psychology as follows: "Amour propre and love of oneself [amour de soi], two passions very different in their Nature and their effects, must not be confused. Love of oneself [amour de soi] is a natural sentiment which inclines every animal to watch over its own preservation, and which, directed in man by reason and modified by pity, produces humanity and virtue. Vanity [amour propre] is only a relative sentiment, artificial and born in society, which inclines each individual to have a greater esteem for himself than for anyone else, inspires in men all the harm they do to one another, and is the true source of honor.
"This being well understood, I say that in our primitive state, in the true state of nature, vanity [amour propre] does not exist; for each particular man regarding himself as the sole spectator to observe him, as the sole being in the universe to take an interest in him, and as the sole judge of his own merit, it is not possible that a sentiment having its source in comparisons he is not capable of making could spring up in his soul." From the Collected Writings of Rousseau, vol. 3,ed. Roger D. Masters and Christopher Kelly, trans. Judith R. Bush, Roger D. Masters, Christopher Kelly, and Terence Marshall (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1992), 91
In general, amour de soi may be translated roughly as self-preservation, amour-propre as self promotion. As Robbie McClintock once explained, "Amour de soi prompts one to eat enough food to sustain a full and active life; amour-propre goads one to consume meals more sumptuous than those of one's neighbors."
See Rousseau's extended note in his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. See also below Books II para267_note2 and in Book IV para752_note1 through para761_note1.