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. Why does Emerson say that it is difficult to live his rule?

2. What does Emerson say will happen if one does not put his heart into his work?

3. Who wrote the verses that Emerson mentions at the beginning of the first paragraph?

4. What is Emerson suggesting with his mention of Joseph and his coat?

5. What is Emerson referring to when he states: "It will be found symmetrical" in talking about consistency vs. contradiction?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain Emerson's problem with "the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country" as detailed in paragraph 22.

2. In paragraph 27, Emerson claims that "Nature suffers nothing to remain in her kingdoms which cannot help itself." State briefly whether you agree or disagree and support your point with a couple of examples.

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

4. In paragraph 36, Emerson talks about real and false prayer. Describe the difference.

5. What is Emerson's stance on philanthropy and charity?

6. Explain the quote "Inasmuch as the soul is present, there will be power not confident but agent" from paragraph 26.

7. In paragraph 4, Emerson claims that nature has given us something specific to remind us of nonconformity. What is it? Explain.

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

9. In paragraph 13, Emerson says it "seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone ... but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present." What does he mean by the phrase "thousand-eyed present"?

10. What does Emerson mean in saying, "Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned to you."?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In paragraph 15, Emerson writes: "Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment." Explain this idea, clarifying Emerson's views on overt actions and describing what his figurative language at the end of the sentence means.

Essay Topic 2

Describe Emerson's use of stylistic elements such as syntax, diction, pace, figurative language, tone, allusions, etc., and explain in which ways his style contributes to the feeling imparted by the essay.

Essay Topic 3

Give a detailed explanation of how Emerson recommends dealing with relationships with friends and family in paragraph 30 and defend or contradict his recommendation.

(see the answer keys)

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