The gift, to be true, must be the flowing of the giver unto me, correspondent to my flowing unto him

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The American Literature

Emersonian Gift Exchange
“The gift, to be true, must be the flowing of the giver unto me, correspondent to my flowing unto him.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are invited to an honored Mountain View High School English tradition –

the Emersonian gift exchange.

You and your classmates


We will exchange Emersonian gifts after our reading and reflection on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Gifts.” You will present your gift to your recipient in front of the class and explain its significance in a sophisticated, polished speech.


Ms. Wu’s Room 212


5th Period: Tuesday, November 25

6th Period: Wednesday, November 26


To celebrate our study of Transcendentalism, our creativity, and our individuality;

to build community; to celebrate Thanksgiving; to deliver a sophisticated, polished speech.


We will draw names and keep the identities of our gift recipient a secret. You must create an Emersonian gift for the person whose name you draw and bring it to class on the day our exchange. This activity is not about purchasing a gift and spending money; it is about creating a gift that reflects Emerson’s philosophy. This will, of course, require your time, sincerity, creativity, and maturity.


100 Listening and Speaking Points

You will present your gift in an insightful, sophisticated, polished speech that explains how your gift reflects Emerson’s philosophy. Your speech should be 2-3 minutes.

Next Steps:

Develop a deep understanding of Emerson’s philosophy of gifts.

Obtain the required information about your gift recipient in order to create your Emersonian gift.

Create your gift.

Write and practice your speech explaining how your gift reflects Emerson’s philosophy.
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