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Life Thoughts in “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau Essay

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Updated: Nov 2nd, 2021

Introduction

Literature is one of means of thought implementation on people in the society. There are a lot of authors who by means of their pieces of literature works wanted to tell what they think about their society, what ills and troubles they see in it. Those, who read these pieces of works, may either agree or disagree with the author, but the author’s name is not to convince, but to give some ideas for discussion, to make people recognize the problem and to consider the problem. The author’s aim is to make people know and think, and whether they agree or not it is the problem of these people.

“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau is the piece of work where the author tells about the profit of isolation from the society, about the opportunity to use nature as the main source of people’s life. He tells about people’s dependence on modern evolution and that sometimes it is useful to hide from civilization and live in the nature, to think freely. The book comprises several chapters, and we are going to discuss three of them: “Where I lived, and what I lived for”, “Sounds” and “Reading”. We are going to find out the author’s ideas and intentions which he put in the book content.

Main Body

Where I lived, and what I lived for

In the opening lines of the “Where I lived, and what I lived for” chapter we may read such words, “At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to considering every spot as the possible site of a house” (Thoreau 2002-141). These words show people the whole direction of the chapter: the author wanted to make people think about the aim of their life, about what they have planned and what they managed to do. These first words just emphasize the heading of the chapter, and one more time underline his idea.

Thinking about the Hollowell farm, as the desired place for living, Henry David Thoreau described the place where he wanted to live and the place which he wanted to advise all people to live, “Its complete retirement, being, about two miles from the village, half a mile from the nearest neighbor, and separated from the highway by a broad field: its bounding on the river…” (Thoreau 2002-145). These words give the full understanding of what the author dreams, “my imagination carried me so far…” (Thoreau 2002-143). To live in solitude does not mean that the author wants to refuse absolutely from the society and contacts with it, vice versa, he agrees that these contacts are useful and should be, but still person should live separately from these contacts for some time.

The author tells that it is possible to be ready for any actions to live in the conditions he described above. He, in his turn, “was ready to carry it on; like Atlas, to take the world on the shoulders and do all these things which had no other motive or excuse but that it would yield the most abundant crop of the kind I wanted, if I could only afford to let it alone” (Thoreau 2002-146). By these words, the author wanted to ell that people should all they can in order to reach the nature, in order to be able to leave this hush and quick world and to be delighted with entire nature, calm and silence.

Reading

The next chapter, “Reading” tells about the necessity to read classic literature. Henry David Thoreau says that classic literature must be studied, no matter how ancient the language it is written. “For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed, and there are many answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave” (Thoreau 2002-176). The author wanted to tell that classical literature contains the answers to the modern problems, as the history repeats and the classical philosophers had more deep knowledge and thought more profoundly than modern writers.

Thoreau is sure that people should either read classical books on the original language or to know the history of that nation in order to be intellectually educated, “Those who have not read the ancient classics in the language in which they were written, must have a very imperfect knowledge of the history of the human race” (Thoreau 2002-180).

The author’s main consideration is that “the book exists for us” (Thoreau 2002-188), that is for readers and it is our task to read it. Thoreau is sure that reading a new book, the reader opens a new world before him and this new world is of great usage for him as it gives a lot of information “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book! (Thoreau 2002-188)

Sounds

The next chapter is about music, and the first lines of this chapter say us that literature is possible to forget, to forget the language and other facilities, but sound is immortal, “we are in danger of forgetting the language which all things and events speak without metaphor” (Thoreau 2002-193).

Conclusion

So, the book by Thoreau is his vision of the modern life and people, his advices of how to live and what to do are not the instructions but the advices what people should pay attention to. The main aim of the book is to tell people “as long as possible to live free and uncommitted” (Thoreau 2002-146).

Works Cited

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. ProQuest Information and Learning, 2002.

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