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Emerson Analysis - Elaine Chung Ms Searle 1 Ralph Waldo...

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Elaine Chung November 23, 2009 Ms. Searle 1) Ralph Waldo Emerson presents his perspective on the ideal education. He believes that education should be of morals, self-trust, and “ inspire the youthful man with an interest in  himself .” He feels that students should have within themselves the desire to learn without the external pressures of society—that “ a parent or senior” should not impose “his opinion and way of  thinking and being on a young soul to which they are totally unfit.” This act would compensate the  genius of the child, molding him into a clone of popular thought.  2) Emerson’s advice is appropriate to a child’s parents, because he states that parents should not monopolize the child’s thought. They should “respect the child,” allowing him to become his own person. The parent should be the supporter the child’s thought, and guide him without governing his actions. 3) Emerson believes that “it is better to teach the child arithmetic and Latin grammar than rhetoric or moral philosophy,” because once a child perfects the rights and wrongs of mathematics and grammar, he has mastered the mechanics of learning. Thus this foundation in learning gives him the “tools” to go on to learn what is important to him. 4) Emerson argues that society tries to silence the geniuses through its encouragement of conformity. In the process of education, the genius of the pupil is sacrificed for the sake of “a neat and safe uniformity.” The pupil’s individuality is discarded, leaving the “possibilities of his nature” unknown, “obstructed, and delayed.” 5) Emerson deems schools as bureaucratic institutions because the geniuses are lowered to the status of the ordinary students. They must wait for the rest of the class in order to move on, thus
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the geniuses get bored and “indolent,” losing their enthusiasm to learn. This hindrance causes the
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