I and Thou

by: Martin Buber

Suggested Essay Topics

Explain what Buber means when he says that there is no I independent of the basic word pairs.

In the second part of the book, Buber brings forth Napoleon as a prime historical example of a particular type of man. What type of man is this?

Buber argues for his two modes of engaging the world by appealing to both primitive people and to developing children. What are his arguments?

According to Buber, why does modern man feel alienated from the world?

At the end of part two of I and Thou, Buber presents two bizarre pictures of the world that he claims can temporarily calm man, but will ultimately horrify him. What do you think these pictures are meant to represent? Why would they ultimately horrify the one imagining them? Do you think that this passage has anything to do with Buber's discussion of the "doctrines of immersion" in part three (aphorism six)?

Explain how Buber views prayer and sacrifice. How are they different from magic?

What need does Buber identify as the origin of faith? How can faith lead us astray?