Self-Reliance Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Emerson say a man must know how to estimate in talking about society and nonconformity?

2. What does Emerson say he has difficulty detecting when people "maintain a dead church"?

3. What rule of wisdom does Emerson seem to find in his discussion of society's views of past acts?

4. What does Emerson say boys don't worry about?

5. What does Emerson not recommend dragging about in his discussion of past acts?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain Emerson's theory on the importance of kings for the world as stated in paragraph 20.

2. What does Emerson mean in paragraph 6 when he describes the voices we hear in solitude as "grown faint and inaudible as we enter into the world"?

3. Emerson states in paragraph 3 that "We are now men." What does he insist that we must do?

4. At the end of paragraph 36, Emerson relates the story of Caratach in Fletcher's "Bonduca," who is "admonished to inquire the mind of the god Audate." In your own words, describe Caratach's response.

5. Emerson explains in paragraph 8 why he believes men "do what is called a good action." Describe his opinion on this subject.

6. What does Emerson mean when he says (in paragraph 10), "Nature is not slow to equip us in the prison-uniform of the party to which we adhere. We come to wear one cut of face and figure"?

7. At the beginning of paragraph 16, Emerson says that "of one will, the actions will be harmonious, however unlike they seem." Explain this quote.

8. Near the end of paragraph 19, Emerson says, "As great a stake depends on your private act to-day, as followed their public and renowned steps." What does he mean by this quote?

9. After giving his example of "boys who are sure of a dinner" in paragraph 5, Emerson laments that adults cannot return to this neutrality. He explains what he believes would happen if we could. What does he believe would happen?

10. Emerson describes insightfully in paragraph 9 when it is easy to live according to his philosophy and when it is difficult. Explain this insight.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What does Emerson think of professional setbacks? Describe his point of view and state whether you think this point of view is practicable in real life. Defend your opinion.

Essay Topic 2

Explain your view of the role of education in fostering such values as self-reliance. In what ways does formal education have an effect on self-reliance? In what ways does self-reliance have to be fostered outside of formal education?

Essay Topic 3

What was the Transcendentalist movement? How does the essay "Self-Reliance" relate to the movement?

(see the answer keys)

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