90 Reading and Discussion Questions

Hailey Leal

  1.  Recall the definition of deism during our discussion of Franklin and Jefferson. With it in mind, what portions of Emerson’s “Nature” might we consider deist. Do you think Emerson’s beliefs in “Nature” align with Jefferson’s in the Declaration. Explain.
  2. Using the following resource (http://www.transcendentalists.com/terminology.html) as a reference, define the philosophy of “Transcendentalism” in your own words. Using your definition, explain how this ideology shows itself in this section of Nature?
  3. What do you think the message or “moral” of Fate is? In other words, what is this poem saying?
  4. Using the Wikipedia entry for “sublime”, how would you define the idea in your own terms? How does the idea of sublime come through in “Nature” and/or “Fate”?
  5. Among the many social phenomena at the time of Emerson’s writing is the westward settlement of white Americans that was displacing native peoples — popularly referred to as “Manifest Destiny.” With this context in mind, does that change your reading of these two texts? Does Emerson avoid these topics, or might he allude to them in a more subtle, indirect, or unintentional manner?


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