Saturday, September 21, 2019
Walden by Henry David Thoreau Essay Example for Free
Walden by Henry David Thoreau Essay No doubt, the great Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July 12, 1817 and died there calmly on May 6, 1862. He was explained by Hawthorne as ugly as sin. He appreciated nature, and his steady worry was exploring the woods and ponds making full observations of plants and creatures. Henry led a remarkable life, never marrying, and marching to his own drummer, as he put it. From 1845 to 1847, he lived unaccompanied in a little cabin he built by Walden Pond near Concord. He explain this sole trial in natural living in Walden criticizing those who lead lives of quiet desperation by all the trappings of usual society. His personal self-government and simple manner was harsh to a number of people, and he gained very little credit throughout his lifetime. Henry David Thoreau was jailed for refusing to pay his poll-tax because he did not believe he should be part of a government which allowed the holding of slaves and invaded other countries (Mexico) with a standing army. An unknown person paid his poll-tax and he was released from jail. Thoreau would have preferred to remain jailed and had others join him in his refusal. If others had joined him, based on their consciences he believes this could have caused the minority to force the majority to do the right thing. I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name if ten honest men only yes, if one HONEST man ceasing to hold slaves withdrew from the copartner-ship, and be locked up in the county jail therefore, it would be the abolition of slavery in America (Thoreau, Disobedience 317). Summary of His Book Today a majority of high school students do not read books because it is considered boring, and with todays technology, you dont have to read, something else will do it for you. People who dont read often judge a book by its cover. It is not all books that are as dull as their readers. Thoreau said this quote because people often judge books without knowing about the book, in this case, the book would not be dull but the person saying it is will be. In the chapter Reading, Thoreau said, To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires training such as the athletes underwent the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. This quote is very important because Thoreau is saying that reading is not an easy task, but it also requires lots of practice and training just as athletes undergo. Throughout the chapter of Reading, Thoreau states how everyone should read books, and if we dont, we could end up being like pygmies and manikins. No wonder that Alexander carried the Iliad with him on his expeditions in a precious casket. (Thoreau, Walden) In the chapter Solitude, Thoreau explains how being by yourself is not at all a bad thing. But for the most part it is as solitary where I live as on the prairies. It is as much Asia or Africa as New England, I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself. Thoreau didnt look at solitude as being something bad or a punishment, he looked at it as if it were a gift. When he said that he had his own little world all to himself, it made me think different about whenever I am alone. I used to think of solitude as something that was bad, but the way that Thoreau put it, I now felt better about being all by me. In the chapter Visitors, Thoreau talks about how having people around are just as good as being in solitude. I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society. When visitors came in larger and unexpected numbers there was but the third chair for them all, but they generally economized the room by standing up. I think that when Thoreau said that he wanted to keep things as simple as possible, he meant it. For example, he only had 3 chairs in his house, and to most people that would be crazy, but when you think about it, how many chairs do you actually need? Or how many rooms do you need? Thoreau also said that it was amazing how he could fit 25-30 people in his tiny house, and how that brought him and all of his visitors closer together. I could not but notice some of the peculiarities of my visitors. Girls and boys and young women generally seemed glad to be in the woods. They looked in the pond and at the flowers, and improved their time. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge) Walden by Henry David Thoreau is an important book for a high school student to read because it has important factors of life that may be needed now, or in you future. In this book, Thoreau explained many things, but I think the most important thing he explained were his chapters on Reading, Solitude, and Visitors. He explained the importance and necessity of reading, he showed how being alone is usually a good thing, and he also showed how great visitors can be. These are all reasons why I think high school students should read Walden. Conclusion Thoreau wrote a lot of stories, one counting Walden. This story clearly portrayed Thoreaus love for nature and life. Thoreau, in the primary part, defines what he sees as the main difficulty of his time. In the second part, Thoreau describes his own trial in living an easy life. Part three focuses on what is significant to him. In this case, Nature is most significant to him, believing nature of learn as a spiritual pursuit. The entire story of Walden is just a trial of a man in living well. Henry D. Thoreau also wrote Resistance which was about him refusing to pay a poll tax. He was in prison and imprisoned in agreement for one night in 1846 for default of his poll tax. This act of disobedience was a complaint against slavery and alongside the Mexican War, which Thoreau and other abolitionists regard as a means to get bigger the slave territory. Self-reliance and personal independence are hallmarks which are predominant in Walden. Thoreau went to the woods to get to the most basic facts of life and to appreciate and enjoy everything about these most basic facts. Thoreau viewed the woods in particular, and nature in general, as a teacher of life and living. Thoreau believed that the simpler his life became the greater his opportunity to appreciate life. Thoreau did not want to allow society to determine that which he knew as life. To live an existence based on the common experience of others would be as to neglect ones own experience. Individualism and an appreciation for nature and solitude do not necessarily mean living as a hermit. Thoreau believed that in order to truly appreciate life, to understand and experience life as ones own life, it is necessary to quiet the mind of all the surrounding trappings of society. Individualism, the importance of the individual, self-reliance, and personal independence is one of the leading characteristics of the era of Romanticism. Henry David Thoreau wrote about individualism and demonstrated his belief by the way he lived. Living at Walden Pond, standing up to his government, refusing to pay a poll-tax to a government with which he viewed as corrupt are examples of his fierce independence and individuality. Thoreau is a stellar example of what individuality can produce. A worthy goal is to make the effort to devote oneself to thought and work, to in fact nurture ones own individuality, rather than becoming lost in the mainstream of life. This will allow greater individuality and diversity to complement our current day society. References Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, gen. ed. Kathleen Coburn, 14 vols. to date (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1969) 6: 30. Thoreau, Walden, the Writings of Henry David Thoreau 199. All additional citations from Walden will come from this edition and be designated by a page number in parentheses.