Your task is to choose one of the five quotes below and interpret it in the comments below. Each quote comes from one of the three essay excerpts we've read so far. You can either write an original post, or look at something another has posted and write your own interpretation building on theirs - to do this, click "reply" under their comment. If you reply to multiple people and get a discussion going, you'll receive some extra credit, too.
Quote 1, "Nature": Tradition
The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. We should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should we not have a poetry and philosophy of insight, and not of tradition? (The) sun sines today also; there is more wool and flax in the field... Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.
Quote 2, "Nature": The Over-Soul
Standing on the bare ground - my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space - all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball. I am nothing; I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me. I am part or particle of God. (The) Supreme Being does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us, as the life of the tree puts forth new branches and leaves.
Quote 3, "Self-Reliance": Nonconformism
Society is a (corporation) in which the members agree, for better securing his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eaters. The virtue in most request is conformity. (Society) loves no realities and creators, but names and customs. (Do) not be hindered by the name of goodness, but explore if it BE goodness...
Quote 4, "Self-Reliance": Intuition
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron String. The essence of genius, of virtue, of life, (is) that which we call spontaneity or Instinct, (our) primary wisdom...We lie in the lap of immense Intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. (To these) involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due.
Quote 5, "Fate": Freedom
The lightning which explodes and fashions planets is in (us). On one side (is) elemental order, (and) on the other, Thought, the spirit which composes and decomposes nature. (We) cannot deny (human) free-will. (If you) say Fate is all; then we say, a part of fate is the freedom of Man. Intellect annuls fate. So far as a man thinks, he is free.
When you read, you produce an individual interpretation of a text. Let's call this your "reading" of that text, which represents one of many possible readings. For example, when/if you read Fahrenheit 451, you took away a sense of who did what, why it mattered, and what it all "meant" that emphasized some things over others based on your experiences and personal values: Maybe you saw it primarily as a defense of free speech in society, or maybe you took away the importance of art and reading in becoming a truly developed individual.
In this class, we're going to try to read multiple texts together and produce "intertextual" readings. This means we synthesize, or combine, ideas from the various texts to produce an interpretation of how they fit together. We're looking at the texts like participants in a conversation. You can imagine texts as potential puzzle pieces, adding up to reveal a bigger picture we didn't see before. Often, this will show something about the culture that produced the texts.
Our first experiment with this type of intertextual interpretation involves a cluster of articles related to the current debate over speech codes and safe spaces on America's college campuses. The University of Chicago sent a letter to incoming students that touched off a national conversation on the topic; now we'll join this conversation by reading, analyzing and debating the following:
-The actual text of the University of Chicago's controversial welcome letter
-An excerpt from President Obama's comments on this issue at Rutgers (see 39:05)
-Two news articles about the origins of this issue and free speech at U. Chicago
-Opinion pieces from a college student, professor and newspaper on the topic
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Write two mini-paragraphs (4 sentences):
-Write a 1-paragraph rhetorical precis for ONE article we read in class.
-Write a persuasive response paragraph giving your view on appropriate speech.
Then print, read and SOAPSTONE the following article: