Thursday, September 8, 2011

Self Reliance

In Emerson's Self-Reliance, he explains that if you are not independent, then you're not a man.  You do not need anybody to work for you to be independent. If you want to be independent, you need to work for someone else so you can show charity.  In order to be great person is to be misunderstood.  Pythagoras, Socrates, and Luther were all misunderstood, and they were great men during their time. 
Emerson begins this essay by defining the word genius as "to believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men."  You don't have to be a very educated person in order to be considered a genius.  He believes that God created men to be unique, and that he gave us a special purpose to be unique. 
In this essay, Emerson also keeps mentioning to trust yourself.  Two things that discourage people from trusting themselves. One being society disapproval, and the other being foolish consistency.  
This was a very interesting essay because this essay is like Hawthorne's story I read previously because they both don't talk about how to be successful in life and how hard they worked. They are more about feelings and expression within the human. I guess it's just because of the time period.
I have just a few question about the essay.  Why did Emerson write this essay? What kind of audience would read this essay? He also mentioned religion several times within the text. What were his religious views? Did he follow a religion?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This story of Nathaniel Hawthorne's My Kinsman, Major Molineux, is about an eighteen-year-old man named Robin who took a ferry ride to the Massachusetts Bay to find Major Molineux.  Molineux was a part of Robin's childhood and he wanted to see him again while he settled in the new town.  It took him a while to get to Molineux though because the town is big, and he had to walk through several streets.  First he traveled to a barber shop to see if Molineux was at that location.  None of the citizens knew where he was, so he kept walking the streets.  He noticed a little inn because there was a big celebration going on inside, so he walked inside the building and asked one of the workers if they know Molinexu. They didn't know him either. He kept walking around the narrow street until he saw a nice woman at a house. She told him the Molineux resided there, but he was gone.  Finally Robin stopped by a church and asked a homeless man on a pillar if he knew Molineux.  He told Robin to just sit and watch him walk by the street. Robin sat for a while and finally noticed Molineux, looking old and happy partying with the rest of the citizens of the town. Robin wanted to go back to the ferry, and the homeless man told him to stay in town for a few days.
I am kind of confused with the plot.  Why did he start looking for Molineux? What was the significance of having him in his life? Was he like a father to Robin? What happened with the skirt at the barber shop? What happened with Molineux at the end of the story? Was he happy, or was he hated by the townspeople?  I did not like this story because I couldn't understand the language.  I understood part of the story when he came looking for Molineux, but when he was being descriptive of a building or a person I got really confused.  I also did not like it because what was the point in traveling the distance to see the man if you're not going to talk to him? I do like the time period of the story because it was set in the early 1800's, and it's around the time of early America. Did citizens actually vote for governors and other political positions, because in the beginning of the story, it said that New England picked their governor by just picking one randomly....I think? I am very confused with the beginning of the story as well? What is happening, and why did people look at Robin as if he were at least of some royality?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anti-Federalist and Federalist

In the Federalist document, James Madison believes that the country should be ruled by one government, broken off to several different departments, or governments for all thirteen states.  The government would rule all of the social classes and make them weak, even the wealthy would be considered weak. The Anti-Fedarlists believe that there should be one government for all thirteen states without a confederation.  They would still abide by the constitution since it is the supreme law of the land, but also have laws for all of the states so they can discuss what needs to be amended.
I thought it was very interesting reading both articles, especially the Anti-Federalist article!  When they talk about how we need a Supreme Court to help make new Laws for the country. I also noticed how they wanted a State Supreme Court for each state when there are state conflicts.  It also mentions that all citizens should follow the laws, for each state and for the United States.  It's very interesting reading the Anti-Federalist article because it is the way we live today.  I remember when I took United States History in high school, I learned that the Federalist government started a national bank. It did not work out because there was more of a national debt then having multiple banks. I really enjoyed reading both articles because it brought me back to my U.S. History class in high school.

Catwright and Allen

In Richard Allen's biography, he explains all of his travels of preaching within the eastern part of the United States. Catwright's story was a little different because he was not a preacher, but he went to tent revivals with people that would cry and shout in the name of the Lord.  I learned from Allen's story that slaves were mostly Methodist because slaves couldn't read or write. The slaves couldn't be Episcopal because they didn't understand Latin.  Catwright didn't travel much with religion because he settled in Kentucky where there were no churches and had tent revivals instead.  Allen did not preach in churches at first, but he eventually preached in Philadelphia with other slaves and whites.  At first he preached in the homes of white families in different areas of the country. He traveled by foot, and at one point he ran into good people and they helped him with his sore feet.  It was very hard during that time to find someone like that because slaves were treated very badly during that time!
Both stories were very interesting, because religion was very different during that time. In both stories, they both mentioned the word Methodist Episcopal.  I am still confused as to what it means.  I liked Allen's story better because it did not mention people jumping, crying, and tonguing the name of the Lord, though Catwright thought it was not necessary.  Allen's story to me seemed more dignified.  I think I've always thought of it that way because I was baptized Episcopalian, and I have never done that during a church service.  A friend of mine that is Baptist has told me that people do that because they feel the presence of God.  In my opinion, I would agree with Catwright and say it's not necessary because if I felt the presence of God, I would be happy but I wouldn't make myself look crazy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Autobiography of Peter Catwright

Peter Catwright was a man with several religious experiences since he was a child.  When he moved from Virginia to Kentucky, he did not go to church because there were no churches in Kentucky.  It took a lot of hard work and several murders of savages to get to that land.  Once they settled, the Catwrights had a preacher come to their house, and started a little prayer service with the community.  The religious meetings went from meeting at a really small house, to meeting outside in all sorts of weather conditions, to actually having shed.  During the meetings some of the people would cry, or shout because they felt they were in the presence of God, and that he would forgive their sins.  Peter Catwright had a problem with gambling and dancing.  One of his rememberable experiences was when he got sick and he told his mother about his stack of cards. She immediately threw the cards in the fire because she thought they were a sin.  Catwright went to the preacher at the next meeting, and was forgiven of his sins. Later on in the autobiography, Catwright explains that he was frowned upon for opposing slavery. According to Catwright, if the Methodists were bearing testimony against the moral evil of slavery, then all of the colonies would have been clear of slavery.
I thought this article was very interesting because people traveled far just to come to these religious meetings.  This reminds me of a conference that occurs once a year called Passion. This is where over sixty thousand college students meet to have a bible study, pray, and sing praise songs! All they do is talk about God for the whole entire conference, and how he is always there to give guidance. I also thought it was really interesting when he talked about how gambling and dancing were sins. Now a lot of people (especially college students with dancing) do that for fun! Is it still a sin? Was it mentioned in the bible, because I don't think it is mentioned? The one thing I am confused about is the term Methodist Episcopal. What is a Methodist Episcopal, because now there are two separate churches for those religions?