The American Scholar Paragraph Summaries

In The American Scholar by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in paragraph one Emerson is greeting the College President and the other students. He then talks about what he will talk about throughout his speech. In the second paragraph he introduces this idea of the American Scholar. He doesn’t yet give the actual meaning of the American Scholar but he introduces the idea. In the third paragraph he continues to talk about this idea of the American Scholar and man. He explains how men were put on this earth for themselves and they should help themselves to the world around them. In the fourth paragraph he goes further in depth of what this American Scholar really is. He talks about how the American Scholar is everyone doing their part in society. The American Scholar is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. He is saying that we must all work together as a society to become this “American Scholar.” The fifth paragraph he then talks about the individual in this society and how even the smallest roles have an impact on society as a whole. The sixth paragraph is about how this “American Scholar” is a smart man that is a thinker. The seventh paragraph talks about how all men make mistakes and that it is okay that they do this. If they didn’t make mistakes than they wouldn’t be a real “American Scholar.” Part of this is being able to make mistakes. In the eighth paragraph  Emerson talks about how you must be okay with yourself and trust yourself to obtain being the person you want to be. He also further explains how you must open up your mind and look beyond the norm. The ninth paragraph talks about knowing yourself and being in touch with your soul. He wants you to figure out yourself and that it will take a long time, it is a very long process but to “know thyself” is very important. The tenth paragraph talks about recognizing your past, not as a bad thing, but using it as a key to help you through life. Learning from your mistakes and using past knowledge to look forward it what Emerson talks about in this paragraph. In the eleventh paragraph talks about knowing your mind and being able to access things within it. In the twelfth paragraph talks about the mind and telling the truth and how it can affect your life. In the thirteenth paragraph Emerson talks about thinking and how you should come up with your own thoughts and ideas and not just believe everyone else’s thoughts because they are written in a book. The fourteenth paragraph compares the thinking man to the bookworm. The fifteenth paragraph then talks about the books and how they are important but it is better to be more in touch with yourself than a book. The sixteenth paragraph talks about how books may be influential but you should never let those ideas change who you really are in your soul. In the seventeenth paragraph Emerson talks about how books have affected people and how they can change your character. He later explains in the eighteenth paragraph how books shouldn’t be the edge of your knowledge and you shouldn’t let only book drive your creativity and life. You should be able to do things for yourself not because of what a book says. The nineteenth paragraph talks about how just because Emerson believes books shouldn’t drive your life that you should be aware that they are still important. The following paragraph talks about how you shouldn’t always judge a book by a cover when it comes to other people and that they may be very different from what you thought they were. In the next paragraph he talks about the world around him and how one has to become part of the world to really understand yourself and ones true soul. In the paragraph following that one things may not be exactly what they appear to be on the outside. He talks about how things can be changed and altered and different if you take the time to understand them. He really talks about how you shouldn’t just believe exactly everything you see. In the following paragraph Emerson talks about vocabulary and how it affects yourself and the world around you. In the next paragraph Emerson basically talks about how the world is at your fingertips and you should use it. After this Emerson talks about how when you can accomplish all of these things and understand them then things just start to fall in place and work like a clock. They all fit together like a puzzle. He later explains how everyone of these people he is talking to has the world at their disposal and that they should go out there and not be afraid to use it. The following paragraph he sums up what he had just talked about, nature, books, and action. He then explains how you should believe in yourself even if other people may not you should always trust yourself. He also talks about making mistakes and how it takes a long time to get things right but that it is okay that this happens and you shouldn’t give up on yourself. Emerson also further explains how self-trust is one of the biggest things to accomplish. Trusting yourself it a very important thing to do. Emerson later talks about how men that only seek money and power are not great men and how they are false people. He then talks about the importance of the individual and how each and every person has a very important role in society. He then concludes with how to exists is to believe in yourself and the inspiration of the Divine soul.

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