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Activity 2: Brook Farm - A Utopian Experiment

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story and arrange with three or four volunteers to read it aloud to the group. Assign each volunteer a section of the story and give all the volunteers a copy of the story in advance.

Description of Activity

Have the volunteers read the story aloud.

Then, lead a discussion with these questions:

  • Is it possible to create a community that, in George Ripley's words, "combine(s) the thinker and the worker" and creates "a more natural union between intellectual and manual labor?" What would that community look like?
  • Is such a combination desirable? What would be gained or lost?
  • Can a community like Brook Farm transform its members? How?
  • Putting aside Brook Farm's financial troubles, do you think you would like to live in a utopian community like Brook Farm? If you have you ever had the chance to, what was it like?

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