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

3. What does Emerson mean when he writes: "...yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color"?

4. What does Emerson claim is the only thing that is sacred?

5. Why does Emerson say a character is "like an acrostic"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. In paragraph 14, Emerson explains the relationship between being misunderstood and greatness. Explain this relationship.

4. 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?

5. Why do you think Emerson claims, in talking about some verses he had read, that "The sentiment they instill is of more value than any thought they may contain."?

6. What does Emerson say about involuntary perception (paragraph 21)?

7. How does Emerson feel about travel? Explain why.

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

9. What does Emerson say happens when a young man fails at his first endeavors? Describe what happens and what Emerson recommends.

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

Discuss the principles of the Age of Enlightenment that preceded Emerson's work. Explain the relationship between Emerson's philosophies and those of the Enlightenment.

Essay Topic 2

What does Emerson say about virtue as it relates to kings and nobles vs. common people? What do you think Emerson is trying to persuade people to do with his writings on this topic? Why?

Essay Topic 3

Explain Emerson's comparison of society to a joint-stock company by explaining what a joint-stock company is and how it works, as well as Emerson's ideas about society's investments and duties and what society receives for it's role in "the company."

(see the answer keys)

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