Analysis Of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The American Scholar Great Speech

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

A scholar. What is a scholar? A scholar is a person who attends a school or studies under a teacher or someone who has done much study in a particular field of education. The American Scholar by Ralph Waldo Emerson was a speech given in 1837 to Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard who were a select group or a bunch of students with unusually high grade point averages. He was invited to give this speech because of his groundbreaking work in his essay titled “Nature” which is all about Transcendentalism which is or was a philosophical movement, developed in the late 1820’s to the 1830’s as a sort of protest to the general state of spirituality and intellectualism at that moment in time.

The speech was about how he thought that American scholars were becoming too dependent on Eurpoean scholars and that they need to start to make a role of their own or start to form their own beliefs about the natural world. Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American poet, philosopher, and lecturer who attended Harvard University. He was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts.

At fourteen years old, he attended Harvard University and war appointed freshman messenger for the president of Harvard University. Later in life, Ralph Waldo Emerson was inducted into the Harvard Divinity School which was one of Harvard’s constituent schools that trained and educated its attendees in the academic study of religions or religious ministry/ other public service vocations. Throughout his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson was a strong believer in individualism. Individualism is the belief that each and every person is unique in their own way and self-reliant for their actions and for their success now and in the future.

His speech that he gave “The American Scholar” was to talk about European influence on American scholars and he thought that this should not be the case. He would rather live amongst one’s own inspiration or one’s own thoughts rather than one of a European scholar’s because once again, he thinks we are becoming too dependent on the Europeans. He thought we should originate with our own beliefs and gave a “Philosophical Framework” for how they can gain their own beliefs that are not heavily influenced by the Europeans.

His three kinds of main views or parts of Amerian scholarships he talks about are Nature, action, and books. He talks about nature in the sense of people and their interactions with our natural world and how we should not combine different things and put them into one thing because they could become very disembodied and disattached. He also means natural in a sense of the human mind and that we shouldn’t become detached from things and how we should think of each thing as its own thing. He talks about books in the sense of us people and our relationship with them and warns about a very revertial and backwards approach to discussing and really just literature from a general standpoint and that a scholar should have a very strong and meaningful understanding of the past in literature ad just about everything overall.

Finally he discusses action. What he means by action is, to simply put it, our lives and how we live them or how we act/our actions in life. He gives this speech with individualism in mind because as I said prior, he is or was an individualist.


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