Read the idea of self-reliance vs. community-reliance was presented in different forms. The idea of a utopia was also discussed at length. Transcendentalists became somewhat famous for their failed utopias in the 19th-century, and Emerson and Thoreau were quite critical of the men and women who thought utopias would actually weren’t. Louisa May Alcott’s father Amos Bronson Alcott was basically obsessed with forming a utopic community, and all of his efforts basically went nowhere. But he tried, and he tried hard. But his ideas ran contrary to the very movement he was trying to be a part of, as is made clear in Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” and made far more clear in Thoreau’s Walden. So with that in mind, here’s what to do. Create a utopia. And write about it. Make it all up, and discuss EVERYTHING that will take part in your community to make it work. Write out the rules of the community, the duties that everyone will do and why they will do them and how they will make your community function seamlessly. Name your utopia and place it somewhere in the country where you think it will thrive, and discuss why you think it will thrive there specifically. Use Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” to help you out (which will pretty much act as a counter-argument here–in other words, argue with Emerson and discuss why self-reliance is no good, but rather community-reliance is a better choice). These need to be VERY specific, because your grade will be based largely on how well you can convince me that your community will work. In other words, if I want to come join your community, you have succeeded. Hint: Google “Brook Farm” and “Fruitlands” to help you understand how and why these communities failed. These can be as long as you want, but they should be at least three pages (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1″ margins all around); but the longer the better.
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