Discussion questions: The Transcendentalists

Discussion questions: The Transcendentalists “Nature” 1. In Emerson’s view, how do adults and children view nature differently? 2. How do changing seasons affect nature lovers? 3. What does Emerson mean when he states, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit”? Do you agree with him; why or why not? 4. What, do you think, is the difference between the meaning Emerson finds in nature and the meaning a scientist finds? “Self‐Reliance” 1. According to Emerson, what is genius? 2. How does Emerson describe society? What is his opinion of it? 3. According to Emerson, how does society affect what people value? 4. Under what circumstances might conformity be wise? When might it be foolish? “Civil Disobedience 1. What kind of government does Thoreau say is best? 2. What does Thoreau mean when he says that “we should be men first, and subjects afterward”? 3. In general, what is Thoreau trying to persuade his readers to believe? 4. Thoreau mentions the Mexican‐American war as an example of the government acting against the will of the people. What other examples of unpopular government actions can you think of? Explain your answer.