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Study Guide for “Self-Reliance” and “Walden”

“Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. What is the main source of greatness in a person?

2. Where does goodness come from?

3. To achieve greatness, what must someone have?

“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau (blue questions)

1. What are Thoreau’s reasons for moving to the woods?

2. What is Thoreau’s remedy for our hectic, detail-crowded lives?

3. What situation is Thoreau exaggerating here?

4. What is the point of his joke?

5. What does he say he wants to spend his time trying to

understand? How does he feel that he can find some of the
answers he seeks?
6. What does Thoreau say he is part of, and why does he feel as
he does?

7. Why does Thoreau leave the woods?

8. What is Thoreau comparing here? How does he want to live his


9. What does it mean to hear a different drummer?

10.What similarities between poverty and wealth does Thoreau

find? What benefits of poverty does Thoreau see?

11. What is the message of this famous parable of the “strong and
beautiful bug?

12. When does Thoreau believe he was wisest?