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"Self-Reliance" and "The American Scholar" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Self-Reliance” and “The American Scholar” Excerpts by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Included in this unit:

- 17 Task cards for excerpts from “Self-Reliance” and “The American Scholar” with student answer sheet and answer key. Questions require close reading, analysis, and personal connection. This activity can be done with a partner or individually. All you have to do is run one copy of the task cards and put them at various stations around the room. Students can rotate to stations. You could also print one copy per partnership or per student if you wish.

- Final test in 2 versions where the answers are scrambled. (13 Multiple-choice, 9 True/False, and 1 short essay) Students also annotate transcendental qualities in a poem by Emerson that they have not read already.

- Editable PowerPoint of the test in case you wish to make changes.

- Optional activity defining transcendentalism.

- Step-by-step instructions for each day.

Sample Test Questions:
_____ 5. What is the opposite of conformity according to Emerson?
A. ignorance B. self-reliance C. society D. determination

_____ 6. Which is NOT an idea expressed by Emerson in his writing?
A. If friends believe differently than you do, remain friends and tolerate differences.
B. Trust in your own integrity.
C. Explore goodness for yourself without depending on rules.
D. People only express themselves halfway. They are afraid to reveal themselves fully.

_____ 12. Which Emerson quote below does NOT deal with individuality?
A. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
B. “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”
C. “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
D. “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.”

_____ 21. Reason and logic are more important than feelings and intuition.

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This lesson is also included in a bigger Emerson unit. If you want to do a little more with Emerson, visit Ralph Waldo Emerson.

You may also be interested in Henry David Thoreau since Emerson and he are often taught together. If so, visit Henry David Thoreau.

If you would like an ENTIRE semester of American literature lessons and activities at your fingertips, visit American Literature Full Semester for more stress-free planning at an exceptional price!
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 days
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