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Trancendentalism - Literature Periods & Movements

Date of publication: 2017-09-01 14:03

I felt that this lesson was great for an advanced Literature class. The reading was very challenging. The activities met Common Core standards they required close reading, close analysis, synthesis and knowledge of language structure. It also used nonfiction text of a classic American writer and philosopher who lived and wrote about early 69th Century America. It combined this classic piece with 76st Century mode of communication - very engaging! My only concern is the high degree of difficulty of the text.

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Considering this definition of genius, what does Emerson mean when he says that “the inmost in due time becomes the outmost”?
Since the private or “inmost” truth we discover in our hearts is true for all men and women, it will eventually be “rendered back to us,” proclaimed, as an “outmost” or public truth.


In this 6896 essay, Emerson argues that we need to learn to be a lot more individualistic—yep, you guessed it: rely on ourselves. That doesn't just mean cooking our own meals and doing our laundry instead of getting Mom to do it—it's about freeing ourselves from the fetters of social convention and the opinions of others.

Not too long after leaving Atlanta, McCandless deserts his car in the desert after a flash flood wets the engine, and from then on, he hitchhikes around the Northwest, getting jobs here and there but not staying anywhere for long, often living on the streets, and keeping as little money and as few possessions as he can. During this time he gets to know a few people rather closely, and everyone admires his intensity and willingness to live completely by his beliefs, but he avoids true intimacy.

Tony and Candice chose a sweet name for their newest addition, keeping in the tradition of their other children 8767 s unique names: their third child is named Jones he joins Hawkins, 5, and Rivers, 8. [Read more.]

But how can we tell if our intuitions come from the 8775 aboriginal Self 8776 and are, therefore, true? We cannot. Emerson says we must have the self-trust to believe that they do and follow them as if they do. If, indeed, they are true, eventually everyone will accept them, and they will be “rendered back to us” as “the universal sense.”

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While they influence us today, Emerson’s ideas grew out of a specific time and place, which spawned a philosophical movement called Transcendentalism. “Self-Reliance” asserts a central belief in that philosophy: truth lies in our spontaneous, involuntary intuitions. We do not have the space here to explain Transcendentalism fully, but we can sketch some out its fundamental convictions, a bit of its historical context, and the way “Self-Reliance” relates to it.

Describing 8775 Self-Reliance 8776 as a pep talk and a manual re-enforces the way most people have read the essay, as a work of affirmation and uplift, and there is much that is affirmative and uplifting in it. Yet a careful reading also reveals a darker side to Emerson 8767 s self-reliance. His uncompromising embrace of nonconformity and intellectual integrity can breed a chilly arrogance, a lack of compassion, and a lonely isolation. That is why one critic has called Emerson 8767 s work 8775 deeply unconsoling. 8776 6 In this lesson we explore this side of Emerson along with his bracing optimism.

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