by Ralph Waldo Emerson
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Law of Life
- Jack London
An old man is left behind by his tribe to die of exposure. As he prepares for death, he reflects on a life spent fighting nature's brutal forces.Pair “The Law of Life” with “Excerpt from ‘Nature’” and ask students to discuss how nature is depicted in each text. How does Ralph Waldo Emerson highlight the beauty of nature while Jack London emphasizes the dangers it poses? How do students think Emerson would respond to London’s portrayal of nature?
Excerpt from Walden: “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”
- Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American author, essayist, poet, abolitionist, and philosopher. He, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, was one of the major figures of the Transcendentalism movement. The text below is taken from his best known work, Walden, a reflection upon his two years spent living in the wilderness near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.Pair “Excerpt from Walden: ‘Where I Lived and What I Lived For’” with “Excerpt from ‘Nature’” to provide students with another text from an author of Transcendentalism. Ask students to compare the themes of each text. How do Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau’s views on nature compare? How does Thoreau feel about the technologies of modern life? Do students think that Emerson would agree with him? Why or why not?
Scientists Reveal Three Keys to Happiness
- ABC News
- October 2, 2003
The informational text “Scientists Reveal Three Keys to Happiness” discusses Stephen and Rachel Kaplan’s findings on how to achieve happiness.Pair “Scientists Reveal Three Keys to Happiness” with “Excerpt from ‘Nature’” and ask students to discuss how nature can contribute to one’s happiness. How did looking at nature or spending time in nature impact participants in the study discussed in “Scientists Reveal Three Keys to Happiness”? How does this compare to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s description of how nature affects him?
A September Night
- George Marion McClellan
In George Marion McClellan’s poem “A September Night,” a speaker describes the natural elements of a dreamy September night in the Mississippi bayou.Pair “Excerpt from ‘Nature’” with “A September Night” and ask students to discuss how the authors characterize nature. How do both Emerson and McClellan personify nature? What effect does using personification have on the image of nature?