Emerson Discussion Questions
How are you affected by nature? Do you find comfort in it? Do you reflect the moods of nature? What is the role of nature in your life?
What is meant by an individual’s spiritual side? How to you define it? Is there a connection between the individual’s spirit and nature? If so, what is that connection? What does it mean to know something intuitively? For example, has a parent or a sibling ever known something was wrong with you without having talked with or seen you? What do we mean when we say “I just know it”? How do you demonstrate that you are an individual? Do you think independently of others or do you follow the crowd? What different moods does Emerson note in the excerpt?
How is nature connected to these moods?
What effect does nature have on Emerson? What does he mean when he says “I become a transparent eyeball”? In what ways does Emerson connect nature, humankind, and God? In what way does Nature serve as a teacher?
How is nature portrayed as noble? As a source of comfort?
How are human beings represented as part of nature?
What can human beings learn from nature? How does this learning affect the individual’s spirituality? What does Emerson mean when he says that “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide”? What does he want each individual to recognize about him/herself? What does he say about “power” and “work”? How is trust a part of being self-reliant?
Why does Emerson see society as the enemy of individuality? What is the role of nonconformity? What did that word mean to Emerson? What is a “foolish consistency”? How does it get in the way of genius?
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