Analysis Of Walden By Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, January 13, 2022 12:55:16 PM

Analysis Of Walden By Henry David Thoreau



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Faced with the death of his brother, Thoreau probably needed to find an answer for mortality and Walden is his attempt to immortalize himself through writing. Continuing from mortality, Thoreau uses another metaphor, divinity. Thoreau mentions about Egyptian and Hindu philosophers and their divinity. It is interesting to see that Thoreau uses other religions, instead of using Christianity.

It was written in mid-nineteenth century, and the traditional Christian beliefs were starting to crumble. Thoreau, coming from New England where Puritan religion is prevalent, would of course be familiar with Christianity and Bible. Other evidences in this paragraph also suggest that Thoreau was affected by this. As I mentioned on the last paragraph, Thoreau mentions about immortality and afterlife, which cannot be achieved in Christianity.

Human beings can only perceive the divine through their senses in Christianity belief, while Thoreau, as a transcendentalist, suggests a more spiritual way to connect with divine by reading great literature. Thoreau does not contemplate townspeople in this paragraph as much as the rest of chapter. Instead he focuses praising the great poets and even defies their work. This is part of his effort to convince readers his argument before he can criticize other townspeople. By doing this, he wishes for townspeople to become more educated.

He wishes that Concord spend money on arts and education as patrons in European nobles, but only finds that townspeople are spending money on farming and trade. By using dichotomy between townspeople and the great poets, he successfully distinguishes himself from townspeople. Work cited. Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Welcome to the world of case studies that can bring you high grades! Here, at ACaseStudy. Thoreau opens the novel by outlining, in very simple terms, his plan for conducting a two-year experiment where he will live in a cabin away from society near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

At the time of the novel, the experiment is already completed. He mentions that many of his friends and acquaintances were worried about his safety in the wilderness, keeping warm in the winter, the surprise that he would want to live alone without any human companionship and occasionally the envious responses of those who wish that they had a reason to join him. Thoreau says that his aim in this experiment would be to explore the benefits of a more simple lifestyle. He says that he intends, in this novel to retell the plain existence that he lived for those two years so that readers might see the benefits of it and perhaps choose it for themselves.

He says that an excess of possessions only serve to weigh us down spiritually and with the time and hard labor it takes to earn money to buy them. Thoreau thinks that farmers are, in some way like prisoners to their farms and that earning more than one needs for simple subsistence enslaves people to their work. He identifies only four things that people absolutely need to survive that nature cannot provide: shelter, food, clothing, and fuel. Beyond these four things, a person who is willing to accept everything else from nature can live off the land entirely. Thoreau describes the small house that he lived in for these two years and the construction of it. Starting with a completely clean slate, he borrowed the ax that he needed to cut down trees.

He notes that, in order to never be in debt to anyone, he later returned the ax sharper than when he received it. Thoreau begins working on the house through the spring months, sometimes buying supplies and sometimes receiving them as gifts. On July 4th, , he completes the house and considers it the day of his own independence from societal customs and conventions. Throughout the process, Thoreau keeps painstakingly detailed records of his finances and credits that he uses to write the book. He tells of a diet of beans, peas, corn and potatoes that sustained him while living at Walden. Through eating so simply, Thoreau managed to spend only sixty-two dollars in his first eight months in the wilderness and turned a profit of thirty-two.

Thus, the cost of the house and the lifestyle for those first eight months is only around twenty-seven dollars total. Thoreau considers this a bargain. Thoreau also notes that he desired to live far from any post office and the suffocating social relationships that it represents. Indeed, he feels like an Olympic god although the house still lacks a chimney and insulation. He says that a paradise that is fit for the gods is available anywhere one earth if you look for it. He prefers to be in his house, sitting on a humble wooden chair than anywhere else in the universe. He considers himself free from time as well as social constraints as he no longer has to worry what time it is. Thoreau begins to tells us that we should not be content with taking our knowledge entirely from books and should look around and see things with our eyes.

He praises a sharp-alertness to nature and the sounds around us, saying that he would often listen to the sparrow chirp outside his home. Thoreau hears the church bells on Sunday and although he also praises the business like zeal of industry he worries that it will eventually completely turn out the wit and thoughtfulness of the nature-loving man. Thoreau notes that although he does not keep any animals, his home is still full of the sounds of nature outside as though it were creeping up to his windowsill.

When he returned to his home he found that visitors had left him small gifts on his doorstep. He says that even though his closest neighbor is only about a mile away, he feels as if he were in some distant foreign land. He is alone and finds joy in his solitude with nature. Because Thoreau does enjoy occasional companionship, he keeps three chairs in his house for guests. But he knows well how small of a house it is. Often when people visit, he will meet with them outside in the forest.

He admits that he is not a conventional host and often forgets to offer his guests food or drink as he cares more about providing them with spiritual sustenance. And many visitors do come to see him. Because of his location, no one comes to him on a trivial errand and the more important visitors are separated from the crowd. Despite this, he says that he has more visitors than ever and the quality of conversation has improved immensely. Thoreau also tends to meet quite a few vagabonds and wayfarers whom he sees as often being quite interesting. Although he notes that he hates beggars as they live solely on charity. Additionally, Thoreau often helps runaway slaves on the Underground Railway as he calls it as he is an abolitionist. Therien was not an educated man but Thoreau respected him for his unpretentious and happy ways and his ability to amuse himself.

While planting a garden, Thoreau discovers many Native American artifacts in the deep soil such as arrowheads and pottery shards. Across the field where he plants his vegetables, Thoreau can hear military exercises from a town ways off and he thinks about how distant and removed he feels from any war. The says that the cultivation of himself and not the crop is the object. Every day after his morning chores are finished, Thoreau bathes in the pond and spends the rest of his day relaxing. A few times a week he hikes into Concord where he meets with the townspeople and gathers the latest news. Thoreau refrains from shopping during these excursions.

Often he must find his way back home in the dark and though at first, this makes him worry, he begins to understand the path back to Walden pond so well that he stops fearing it at night. He remarks that many people lose their way in the dark but Thoreau does not consider this to necessarily be a bad thing. He thinks that a person can only truly understand themselves when they are lost. One one such journey into Concord, Thoreau is found and arrested for non-payment of a poll tax. Thoreau explains that he intentionally did not pay the tax because he did not want to support a state that still engages in slavery.

Thoreau spends one night in jail before being released and returning to his home. One night while Thoreau is on a fishing expedition in the deep forest, he gets caught in a rainstorm and must take shelter in a hut that he assumes is deserted. However, the hut is actually the residence of a poor Irish immigrant named John Field and his family. Thoreau also does not note any shared moment of happiness with the family, as he often does when speaking of his social interactions within the novel and is obviously angered when he leaves. He unfairly concludes that Field is not fond of taking risks and lacks the sense and the mathematical know how to understand what Thoreau was explaining to him.

While walking home, Thoreau sees a woodchuck and is oddly seized with the desire to catch and devour it. He thinks about his dual nature, the difference between his noble, spiritual self and the dark, savage self and finds that he values both sides of himself.

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