Question 1. Judging from the diction in both passages, what would you conclude about the education level of the two authors? What words and expressions help you to conclude this?
In my opinion, both passages are highly educated. Both of them are interested in choosing the right words and sentence structure, so they could express their ideas for the audience. We can see in the essay of Emerson that he said, “A Hero sometimes says stuff and does stuff that makes no sense to their peers. They get mad, and feel insulted. After a while, they figure out the guy’s just doing what he thinks is right, and just because he’s different doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Eventually they realize that the hero was really smart and brave to do what he did.” Looking this quotation, we can conclude that Emerson used abstract words like “heroism, contradiction, and secret impulse of an individual’s character.” Another example is when Emerson said, “just and wise men take umbrage at his act,” and “clean contrary to a sensual prosperity,” It is a challenge to him because he wants that his readers think about their own ways of thinking. Just because “everybody knows” something and it’s “what’s in the books.” doesn’t mean we can’t think about something in a new way. It might be a better way, and it takes heroic vision to go against popular wisdom.
By the other hand, the essay of Thoreau is not nearly abstract like Emerson, but when he used “this is my native town” instead of “hometown” or “place of my birth” is a nice form of diction that he applied. Instead of “nature keeps going, or children can still see things like I saw as a child,” Thoreau preferred to use “preparing another aspect for new infant eyes.” Also, another example is when he said “I have at length helped to clothe that fabulous landscape of my infant dreams, and one of the results of my presence and influence is seen in these bean leaves, corn blades, and potato vines.” he could have said, I finally got around to planting a garden. The beans, corn and potatoes are starting to grow” In my opinion, we can conclude that Thoreau used much diction in his writing.
Question 2. Judging from the sentence fluency, voice and diction, to what kind of audience are these writers addressing their essays. Consider the audience’s age, level of education, and interests. Judging from the sentence fluency, voice and diction, to what kind of audience are these writers addressing their essays.
Consider the audience’s age, level of education, and interests. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Heroism” is written to someone who agrees with his opinion. Emerson writes as if it is a fact. People who are highly educated and have time to fully understand what he has written. So not lower class but intended at high class in society, ages 30 to 40 or older. Interests would be the canon of writing so books are considered as classics. Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Bean Field.” As the title implies, lower class of society. Society who are generally working outside and just have time to enjoy nature rather than books, age between working age so this could be 15 to 30. Interests would be working with their hands, and craft like carpentry or woodwork.
Question 3. Which of the two essays reveals a more romantic, warm, down to earth voice? Why?
In my opinion, Henry David Thoreau essay is the more romantic, warm and down to earth because of the personal nature of the writing. He used first person and talks about things that I can feel, see and maybe smell when I was reading this. It is familiar and I realized that this essay has many complicated language and concepts, its analytical.
Question 4. Which writer is more focused on nature and which on human behavior? How do you know?
In my opinion, I think that “Bean Field” is more human and more natural, because it talks about a home, feelings, memories and more things that are natural human behaviors. Also, when I was reading this essay, I could understand what the author was trying to say and I could even feel like I was in the story.
Question 5. Describe what you did and didn’t understand about these 2 passages. Could you figure out what certain words meant even if you hadn’t seen them before? If so, what strategies did you use to understand these passages.
When I started to read these essays, I didn’t understand these words
Mankind – man, kind. Refer to all humans
Umbrage – offense; annoyance; displeasure
Unison – a process in which all elements behave in the same way at the same time; simultaneous or synchronous parallel action: Extol – verb (used with object), ex·tolled, ex·tol·ling. To praise highly; laud; eulogize.
Perennial – (of plants) having a life cycle lasting more than two years.
The strategies that I used to understand these words were:
Search in Internet
Search in a dictionary
Note: when I was searching on the Internet and in dictionaries, I found out many answers for the words that I didn’t understand, I read all the answers and I tried to choose the best word for the text.
Courtney from Study Moose
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