A paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of Emerson’s essay, “The American Scholar,” sometimes termed America’s “Intellectual Declaration of Independence” since he forcefully calls for a distinctive American literature. In the structural analysis of the forty-three paragraphs of the essay, eighteen major tenets of Emerson’s Transcendentalism are listed and underlined for the benefit of your students.
The handout will allow your students to examine all of the most quoted passages from the essay in context and with my commentary on difficult passages.
As an addendum to the answer key, I have included a two-page note entitled “To the Teacher,” which deals with areas not covered in the handout. The note covers topics which your students may ask about or which you may wish to incorporate into class discussion of the essay, such as Emerson’s life, his Transcendentalism, and eight stylistic characteristics of Emerson’s essays.
My handout, which has blanks that your students can fill in, is suitable for a homework assignment or as an in-class activity. As mentioned, a one-page answer key with a two-page appended note is provided on separate pages at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.