Table of Contents Henry David Thoreau As the foremost American proponent of simple living, Thoreau remains a powerful influence on generation after generation of young freethinkers, but his political importance is more complex than is often thought. It is the liberal side of Thoreau that is most widely remembered today. He sought an absolutely individual stance toward everything, looking for the truth not in social conventions or inherited traditions but only in himself.
Plot[ edit ] I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
Readers are reminded that at the time of publication, Thoreau is back to living among the civilized again. The book is separated into specific chapters, each of which focuses on specific themes: In this first and longest chapter, Thoreau outlines his project: He easily supplies the four necessities of life food, shelter, clothing, and fuel with the help of family and friends, particularly his mother, his best friend, and Mr.
The latter provided Thoreau with a work exchange -— he could build a small house and plant a garden if he cleared some land on the woodlot and did other chores while there. The poem criticizes those who think that their poverty gives them unearned moral and intellectual superiority.
Much attention is devoted to the skepticism and wonderment with which townspeople greeted both him and his project as he tries to protect his views from those of the townspeople who seem to view society as the only place to live. He recounts the reasons for his move to Walden Pond along with detailed steps back to the construction of his new home methods, support, etc.
Thoreau recollects thoughts of places he stayed at before selecting Walden Pond, and quotes Roman Philosopher Cato 's advice "consider buying a farm very carefully before signing the papers. Thoreau takes to the woods dreaming of an existence free of obligations and full of leisure.
He announces that he resides far from social relationships that mail represents post office and the majority of the chapter focuses on his thoughts while constructing and living in his new home at Walden. Thoreau discusses the benefits of classical literaturepreferably in the original Greek or Latinand bemoans the lack of sophistication in Concord evident in the popularity of unsophisticated literature.
He also loved to read books by world travelers. Thoreau encourages the reader to be "forever on the alert" and "looking always at what is to be seen. In addition to self-development, an advantage of developing one's perceptiveness is its tendency to alleviate boredom.
Rather than "look abroad for amusement, to society and the theatre", Thoreau's own life, including supposedly dull pastimes like housework, becomes a source of amusement that "never ceases to be novel.
Thoreau reflects on the feeling of solitude. He explains how loneliness can occur even amid companions if one's heart is not open to them. Thoreau meditates on the pleasures of escaping society and the petty things that society entails gossip, fights, etc. He also reflects on his new companion, an old settler who arrives nearby and an old woman with great memory "memory runs back farther than mythology".
Thoreau talks about how he enjoys companionship despite his love for solitude and always leaves three chairs ready for visitors. The entire chapter focuses on the coming and going of visitors, and how he has more comers in Walden than he did in the city. Thoreau then reflects on the women and children who seem to enjoy the pond more than men, and how men are limited because their lives are taken up.
He touches upon the joys of his environment, the sights and sounds of nature, but also on the military sounds nearby.
The rest of the chapter focuses on his earnings and his cultivation of crops including how he spends just under fifteen dollars on this. The chapter focuses on Thoreau's reflections on the journeys he takes several times a week to Concord, where he gathers the latest gossip and meets with townsmen.Walden opens with a simple announcement that Thoreau spent two years in Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts, living a simple life supported by no one.
He says that he now resides among the civilized again; the episode was clearly both experimental and temporary.
The first chapter, “Economy. Henry David Thoreau was born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, into the "modest New England family" of John Thoreau, a pencil maker, and Cynthia Dunbar. His paternal grandfather had been born on the UK crown dependency island of Jersey.
. Watch video · American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher, Henry David Thoreau was a New England Transcendentalist and author of the book Walden.
Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, , in Concord Born: Jul 12, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is a text written in the first person perspective which details the experiences of the author during his two year experiment in living at Walden Pond; and the philosophical ideas that came to him during his stay there, regarding living simply and deliberately, knowing yourself, and searching for truth.
Henry David Thoreau. As the foremost American proponent of simple living, Thoreau remains a powerful influence on generation after generation of young freethinkers, but his political importance is more complex than is often thought. Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in He graduated from Harvard in , the same year he began his lifelong Journal.
Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott.