S      Select a text from the media for the purpose of analyzing and explicating how it draws upon Emerson’s ideas (refer to your “Examples of Transcendental Ideas” handout) to communicate its message. Consider 1) how the text promotes an Emersonian view of the individual (whether through the words, the people, colors, and images associated with the ad or picture, etc. –this will require you to describe and explicate the ad or image), and 2) to what effect (why, specifically, does the text promote, extol, or imbibe Emersonian themes, ideals, arguments, rhetoric?). In order to address this question, you will have to consider the text’s “argument,” theme or purpose, as well as its intended audience. How does the text draw upon Emersonian appeals to attract or draw an audience and frame its argument? Does the text employ Emersonian ideas only to covertly undermine them?


The assumption is that Emerson’s ideas—his romantic celebration of selfhood, his rugged philosophy of individualism and anti-institutionalism—still impact  and influence our thinking today. Today, consider why these ideals still influence us—what about his ideas attract audiences today?—and why marketers draw upon these seductive ideals to sell a product.



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