"The American Scholar" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essay by lenny_007College, UndergraduateB, December 2004

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This essay or more accurately this Oration is very useful in understanding the role of the scholar and principally what a scholar deals with. Emerson in the begging of the oration states some definition about man and scholar:

"Man is not a farmer or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer and soldier." (Emerson, 295).

" ... the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking." (295).

Emerson tries to define the things that a scholar should do. The things a scholar should be influenced by. He states that three main things should influence a scholar are nature, the mind of the Pas or more specifically books and action.

I. Nature,

"He must settle its value in his mind. What is nature to him?" (296).

Emerson tells us that the scholar is influenced by nature but he is the one that should state the nature's value.

II. Books,

"Books are the best type of the influence of the past, and perhaps we shall get at the truth-learn the amount of the influence more conveniently-by considering their value alone." (296-297).

The best things that we inherited from the Past are books! But even this Emerson says that:

"Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this." (297).

What I really liked from the statements that Emerson does about the books is that not everything, even that the best writer writes it, it doesn't have to be true and essential; and that the scholar should have his authentic ideas and views.

" Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views...