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 suggest is required to withstand the "rage of the cultivated classes" and the "indignation of the people"?

2. What does Emerson say is a conspiracy against manhood?

3. On what does Emerson say we will be advancing if we live as "guides, redeemers and benefactors"?

4. What does Emerson say the muscles are moved by in his discussion of company?

5. What are boys sure of in Emerson's example of how boys speak their mind?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. At the beginning of paragraph 9, Emerson states: "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule ... may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness." What does he mean by that?

3. In paragraph 22, Emerson explains God's way of communicating. Give a brief explanation of his theory.

4. Why do other members of society "need" us to be consistent according to Emerson in paragraph 12?

5. Why does Emerson say in paragraph 26 that the world hates the fact that the soul becomes?

6. Explain the opening quote to Emerson's essay, "Ne te quaesiveris extra" and why he uses it.

7. What does Emerson say about sympathy in paragraph 37?

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

10. Explain Emerson's comparison of the white man to the New Zealander.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What is the relationship between art, literature and philosophy described by Emerson in "Self-Reliance"? Explain what Emerson says about the effects art and literature have on the way people form their own opinions and his opinion on the subject.

Essay Topic 2

Explain the importance of self-perception in becoming self-reliant. Consider Emerson's example of the "sot" who wakes up in the duke's house washed and dressed, and explain Emerson's view of how what we feel about ourselves affects our autonomy.

Essay Topic 3

Explain Emerson's view of the advancement of society and give several supporting examples.

(see the answer keys)

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