I hope everyone is ready for this Thursday as we discuss “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson and “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau. I’ve put together a few questions to ponder as you “saunter” through these essays so you’re ready to discuss.
Here are a few questions about “Nature” that I found here:
- In Emerson’s view, how do adults and children view nature differently?
- How do changing seasons affect nature lovers?
- What does Emerson mean when he states, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit”? Do you agree with him; why or why not?
- What, do you think, is the difference between the meaning Emerson finds in nature and the meaning a scientist finds?
Here are a few questions about “Walking” that I fond here:
- What does Thoreau mean by the “art of Walking” and “sauntering”?
- Thoreau writes: “But possibly the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and exclusive pleasure only,—when fences shall be multiplied, and man traps and other engines invented to confine men to the public road; and walking over the surface of God’s earth, shall be construed to mean trespassing on some gentleman’s grounds. To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us improve our opportunities then before the evil days come.”
Are we living in the “evil days” that Thoreau predicted would come? Why or why not?
- Thoreau writes: “Yes; though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a dismal swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp. How vain then have been all your labors, citizens, for me!”
What choice would you make and why?
- How would you describe Henry David Thoreau based upon this essay?
And here are a few that I thought of myself:
- Do you enjoy going out for walks? Where is your favorite place to walk and why? Do you prefer walking in an urban environment or out in nature?
- The authors of these essays become very philosophical when contemplating nature. Have you ever been out in nature and found your mind wandering in a similar way? What did you think about? For example, when I am out weeding my flower beds, I find myself contemplating sin and holiness. What say you all?
- Were these essays anything like you expected?
- Overall, what do you think of these Transcendentalists and their writings? Do you enjoy their style? Would you read other works by them or read these again?
As I mentioned above, our next meeting is this Thursday, July 12. We’ll be meeting at 7 pm at the Paradise Bakery and Café at Castleton Mall (please note the location change).
Happy reading (and happy sauntering) to you all!