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 is a hobgoblin?

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

3. Who does Emerson make an example of when talking about living according to his recommendations?

4. What does Emerson say man is jailed by?

5. What is it that we put on in company according to Emerson?

Short Essay Questions

1. In paragraph 10, Emerson gives a long account of exactly why he objects to conformity. His objection relates to personal "force" and the perception of character. Can you explain this objection?

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

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

4. 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?

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

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

7. 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."?

8. In paragraph 33, Emerson says, "We are become timorous, desponding whimperers." Explain what he means by this.

9. 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"?

10. 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?

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

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."

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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