Essay about The American Scholar By Ralph Waldo Emerson

945 Words Sep 13th, 2016 4 Pages
Obtaining the uttermost knowledge, wisdom and power has been an arms race since the dawn of mankind. However, the immense potential power every man holds and their inherent greatness is shadowed by the exceptional men of the past. In spite of this, Ralph Waldo Emerson in “The American Scholar”, calls for the liberation of the dormant genius, or scholar, within each American. Emerson explores the two distinct scholars known as Man Thinking and the bookworm. He argues that there are three important influences upon the scholar that determine what breed of scholar will emerge: nature, books, and action. Too much or too little of the influences jeopardize the scholar’s worth. In his speech, “The American Scholar” he reasons that Man Thinking is the superior scholar because they understand the perfect balance needed from the three influences on their soul. Emerson valued the potential of each man to be a scholar and categorized them into two breeds of scholars. A bookworm “value[s] books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitutions,” (Emerson 539). These individuals learn through books only, and value scholarship over all. On contrast, Man Thinking “is the delegated intellect” (Emerson PAGE) who values books, but also values nature as well as experience. Man Thinking recognizes his obligation as the sole person responsible for spreading universal wisdom to the people who look up to him or her. For this reason the bookworm is a person who comes short of Man…

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