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Walden literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Walden. Sign up below to stay informed on the latest news and upcoming events at Walden Woods. First Name: Last Name *Zip. Essays. After the Death of John Brown. Mr. Walden (/ ˈ w ɔː l d ən /; first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods), by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, is a reflection upon simple living. Free Walden papers, essays, and research papers. These results are sorted by most relevant first (ranked search). You may also sort these by color rating or essay. Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden, by Henry David Thoreau is written in first person about the events and ideas that came to the author during his time living at. Walden Essays: Over 180,000 Walden Essays, Walden Term Papers, Walden Research Paper, Book Reports. 184 990 ESSAYS, term and research papers available for UNLIMITED. Although Walden enjoyed only moderate success in Thoreau's lifetime, his experiment at the pond would spark considerable interest in the years to come. Walden Two. WALDEN TWO REACTION PAPER Walden Two introduces us to the concepts of positive punishment, classical conditioning, and shaping through the utopian. Suggested essay topics and study questions for Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Perfect for students who have to write Walden essays. Walden Two. Walden Two: The Psychology of “No Place” In a post-World War Two era, there was much longing for improvement on current society.

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Thoreau Essay From Walden Pond Essay Research

Thoreau Essay From Walden Pond Essay Research

Thoreau Essay (From Walden Pond) Essay, Research Paper

Answer Thoreau’s question: “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” Thoreau reminds us that the law has been created by the majority and to disobey would put him in the minority-a “wise minority.” Why should the wise minority have the right to disobey laws created by the majority? As we approach the end of the millennium, we must all ask ourselves, what lies in the future? Some people believe that the year 2000 will mark the beginning of world chaos. Others take the optimistic viewpoint, and believe that the world will know peace in the next century. In both of these beliefs, the government (or lack there of) plays an important role. The government plays a role in all of our lives. Most people would like to believe that it doesn’t, but still we pay our taxes and cast our votes. But what if people played a more active role in their government? What if we were all recognized as individual people, all worthy of equal representation? This issue has been addressed by many. However, there is one person who stands out. He addressed this issue so eloquently and thoroughly that it still intrigues people today. Henry David Thoreau uses his essay, “Civil Disobedience,” to express his opinions of the government, the governed and those who resist the government’s power. His essay seems directed to those who are already in favor of his viewpoints. Thoreau does not believe that the government is set up to impose laws and rules of society upon people, but rather, the government should help the individual to sustain his or her own beliefs. Thoreau argues that an individual’s conscience dictates what is right and wrong therefore, a government under majority rule cannot always succeed in being just. Thoreau uses slavery and the Mexican War as examples of how the majority will rule according to what will best benefit themselves. He goes on to explain his night in prison and all the things he learned and experienced that night. Thoreau uses that night as an example of why others should follow in his footsteps and resist the government. He does believe that people must use their moral conscience to guide them and do good for themselves and others. Thoreau ends his essay by explaining the purpose and importance of the individual. He believes that the government gets all its power from the individual therefore, the individual should be held in the highest regard. Thoreau involves his readers through his essay. He asks important questions that force the reader to stop and think for himself or herself. For example, Thoreau asks the question “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” Thoreau also speaks of the wise minority and their right to disobey the majority’s laws. This concept is important in recognizing the importance of the individual. Both of the questions are important to Thoreau, and to his essay. “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” That is a very important and very personal question. I cannot answer that question for ev

eryone, but only for myself. It is my opinion that people should attempt to change the laws, and obey them until the change has occurred. The government is far reaching, and change will not come easily. Even Thoreau knew that change would take time. ” I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government” (128). Thoreau knows that the process of change is long, he acknowledges that. However, he does not acknowledge the government power over people, especially when the laws are unjust. Thoreau brings up a significant point. A point that makes me question my own beliefs. ” but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say break the law,” (134) are the words that echo in my mind. These words conjure up images of slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the fugitive slave acts. All of these were the harsh reality of Thoreau. I cannot honestly say that I would rather return a person to slavery, then break the law. I believe the Thoreau brought up the issue of slavery for just this reason, to show how poignantly wrong the government can be. How can any person be expected to obey a government that eludes human rights in such a way? Thoreau has made his point. Now I am not sure what I believe. I know I should obey the law, but what if the laws set up by the government are wrong? Where should I look to then? As Thoreau said ” we should be men first and subjects afterwards”(128). I shall first answer to my conscience, before I answer to anything or anyone else.

According to Thoreau, by thinking for myself and allowing my conscience to guide me, I have become a part of the wise minority. I am now going against the majority rule and doing what I think is right. Why should the wise minority have the right to disobey the majority? As Thoreau has pointed out, the majority does not follow a conscience. It was the majority that allowed slavery. It is this wise minority, the people that speak out, that initiate change and make the nation stronger. If the government were left ” uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations”(146). If the majority is left alone, contented with itself, then no change will ever come about. This gives the minority the right to disobey. To better themselves and the nation, the minority must break the laws that question their morals. No person should have to ” resign his conscience to legislature”(128). Every person should think for himself or herself; everyone is capable of deciphering right from wrong. Thoreau believed in the individual. There is power in the individual person and the government should recognize it as ” a higher and independent power “(146). The questions of whether you should break unjust laws, and if the minority has the right to break the law are both important to Thoreau’s beliefs. Thoreau involves his readers by asking these questions. The questions force the reader to evaluate their own beliefs and question the role of government in their lives. Perhaps as we proceed into the next millennium, Thoreau’s hope of a government that recognizes the individual will become our reality. “A State which bore this kind of fruit and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State “(146).

Walden Essay Research Paper The Meaning in

The Meaning in Walden

Walden. or Life in the Woods was written during Henry David Thoreau?s stay at Walden Pond, an excursion that lasted over two years. It was here that Thoreau conducted his experiment with life.

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. (Thoreau 835)

Walden, or Life in the Woods is a well-known book admired for it?s meaning. The thing that was so enticing about this story was the knowing of it?s development.

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. (788-799)

These words began Thoreau?s story of his experiment of simple living at Walden Pond, a sixty-two acre body of water in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau chose to build a cabin on land belonging to his close friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. On this land, Thoreau wrote a series of eighteen essays and journals, “describing Thoreau?s idealistic creed as affected by and expressed in his life at the Pond.” (Hart 797-798).

Most of what Thoreau writes about is based on his first year living by the pond. Things such as his night in jail, trip to Mount Katahdin, and scientific studies of the second year he only touches upon. Each day Thoreau would come up with new thoughts and feelings. He used his mind and listened to his heart to write Walden, therefore every word meant something. Thoreau was very strong in his believing that we should live for ourselves. He believes that we should do things our way rather than copy our parents or anyone else. “I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible” (Thoreau 825). Thoreau influences the reader to choose his or her own personal desires rather than those imposed on us by society. He believes that we should worry more about doing what is right for ourselves, so that we can live for ourselves.

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself” (834). Through Walden, Thoreau describes his own experience in living a simple life. Thoreau is careful not to recommend his specific way of living to the readers. He merely suggests his simple living as his own enlightenment. He says to his readers “I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account,”(841). Even though Walden does make life seem more understandable, it was not written as a guideline.

“Walden is a book written very directly to its readers, and it intends for them to be provoked into thought” (Error! Bookmark not defined.). In writing Walden, Thoreau turned life into his subject, for which he carefully studied in order for him to understand. Thoreau tries to make his readers think about life and realize how to make life better each day. Thoreau says in Walden, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts” (Thoreau 835). Whether it is by learning something new or taking new adventures, his idea is to live each day to the fullest. Thoreau wants his readers to understand his words, and sense it?s overall meaning. He wants his readers to take what he thinks and what he learns, and apply it into their own minds as they see it.

Toward the end of Walden, Thoreau describes nature and it?s effects on his own life. Thoreau was a transcendentalist, one who believes in a “higher reality than that found in sense experience” (Encarta 98 Encyclopedia). As a Transcendentalist, Thoreau could relate to nature like no one else. To do this he had to get away from society. The reason Thoreau went out to Walden Pond was to understand questions about his own life. “Walden was to be his personal testament, the essence of all he had observed and put down in his Journal, the bringing together of everything he had felt and thought about” (Stern 7).

Thoreau?s wise perception of nature is seen through his similes, metaphors, and deep descriptions.

We can never have enough of Nature. We must be refreshed by

the sight of inexaustible vigor, vast and Titanic feature, the

sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its

decaying trees, the thunder cloud, and the rain which last three

weeks and produces freshets. (Thoreau 875)

Thoreau was an expert when it came to nature. His words in Walden show his

compatibility and appreciation to the natural environment.

Thoreau gives no clear order or form in Walden. “The question of its structure has puzzled many critics, with some focusing on the cycle of the seasons as symbolic death and rebirth, and others on whether it is unified in spite of the oppositions it contains” (Error! Bookmark not defined.). Thoreau did not try to write Walden as a story, or a novel with a beginning and an end. It does not have a plot line. It was written as a journal, in which Thoreau recorded his ideas and feelings that existed in his own heart, mind, and soul.

Everyone knows that Walden is about a guy who lived in the woods, but how many know the meaning, or what the message was? Thoreau?s words require the reader to think through some of the basic questions of life that few stop to even

think about. Thoreau encourages a deeper understanding of life. With his words, he is able to satisfy those that may be unsatisfied with their life, but one must read his actual words to get the complete picture.

Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology: American Literature. Shorter Fourth

Edition. New York: Norton, 1995.

Hart, James D. The Oxford Companion to American Literature. 6th Edition.

New York. Oxford University Press. 1983. P. 797-798.

Reading Walden. Ed. Robert Cambell. September 1, 1999. Gonzaga

University. October 26, 1999.

“Transcendentalism” Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation

Van Doren Stern. Philip, ed. The Annotated Walden: Walden; or Life in

the Woods. By Henry D. Thoreau. New York: Clarkson N. Potter,

FREE Walden Essay

Topics in this paper Popular Topics

In Thoreau's piece, Walden, he tells of a road less traveled, which, to him is the only road to travel upon. He explains his ideas of a simplistic life also adding his feelings on conformity. He also describes many problems with society that can easily be amended by that can easily amended by simple beliefs. I agree with some of his beliefs and disagree with others.

Thoreau's residence in the woods provides him with several lessons and concepts. Thoreau wants to learn everything life has to teach in order to live his life to the fullest; he believes nature gives him the best vantage point from which to learn. Thoreau discovers his doctrine of individuality, as he writes, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears ¦". Thoreau also feels that most of society's work is unnecessary. "Why should we live with such hurry and waste in life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry". Thoreau instead insists on slowing down and enjoying what nature has to offer. "Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails". Thoreau learns the value of simplicity and urges others to reduce their accounts and affairs. Thoreau leaves the woods in order to avoid wasting his life, as he believes he spent enough time in the forest. This experience places Thoreau in a better place to observe the world.

One idea that Thoreau proposes is that man's life needs to be condensed, simplified. I agree with these ideas. The example he uses in Walden is that he finds gratification in building his own house. Thoreau finds much pleasure by building shelter with simple and natural means. By using what he found in nature ,trees for example, and not manufactured building materials. Thoreau shows that he needs only the bare requirements to survive i

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Реферат на тему Walden Essay Research Paper The Meaning in

Walden Essay, Research Paper

The Meaning in Walden

Walden. or Life in the Woods was written during Henry David Thoreau?s stay at Walden Pond, an excursion that lasted over two years. It was here that Thoreau conducted his experiment with life.

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. (Thoreau 835)

Walden, or Life in the Woods is a well-known book admired for it?s meaning. The thing that was so enticing about this story was the knowing of it?s development.

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. (788-799)

These words began Thoreau?s story of his experiment of simple living at Walden Pond, a sixty-two acre body of water in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau chose to build a cabin on land belonging to his close friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. On this land, Thoreau wrote a series of eighteen essays and journals, “describing Thoreau?s idealistic creed as affected by and expressed in his life at the Pond.” (Hart 797-798).

Most of what Thoreau writes about is based on his first year living by the pond. Things such as his night in jail, trip to Mount Katahdin, and scientific studies of the second year he only touches upon. Each day Thoreau would come up with new thoughts and feelings. He used his mind and listened to his heart to write Walden, therefore every word meant something. Thoreau was very strong in his believing that we should live for ourselves. He believes that we should do things our way rather than copy our parents or anyone else. “I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible” (Thoreau 825). Thoreau influences the reader to choose his or her own personal desires rather than those imposed on us by society. He believes that we should worry more about doing what is right for ourselves, so that we can live for ourselves.

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself” (834). Through Walden, Thoreau describes his own experience in living a simple life. Thoreau is careful not to recommend his specific way of living to the readers. He merely suggests his simple living as his own enlightenment. He says to his readers “I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account,”(841). Even though Walden does make life seem more understandable, it was not written as a guideline.

“Walden is a book written very directly to its readers, and it intends for them to be provoked into thought” (Error! Bookmark not defined.). In writing Walden, Thoreau turned life into his subject, for which he carefully studied in order for him to understand. Thoreau tries to make his readers think about life and realize how to make life better each day. Thoreau says in Walden, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts” (Thoreau 835). Whether it is by learning something new or taking new adventures, his idea is to live each day to the fullest. Thoreau wants his readers to understand his words, and sense it?s overall meaning. He wants his readers to take what he thinks and what he learns, and apply it into their own minds as they see it.

Toward the end of Walden, Thoreau describes nature and it?s effects on his own life. Thoreau was a transcendentalist, one who believes in a “higher reality than that found in sense experience” (Encarta 98 Encyclopedia). As a Transcendentalist, Thoreau could relate to nature like no one else. To do this he had to get away from society. The reason Thoreau went out to Walden Pond was to understand questions about his own life. “Walden was to be his personal testament, the essence of all he had observed and put down in his Journal, the bringing together of everything he had felt and thought about” (Stern 7).

Thoreau?s wise perception of nature is seen through his similes, metaphors, and deep descriptions.

We can never have enough of Nature. We must be refreshed by

the sight of inexaustible vigor, vast and Titanic feature, the

sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its

decaying trees, the thunder cloud, and the rain which last three

weeks and produces freshets. (Thoreau 875)

Thoreau was an expert when it came to nature. His words in Walden show his

compatibility and appreciation to the natural environment.

Thoreau gives no clear order or form in Walden. “The question of its structure has puzzled many critics, with some focusing on the cycle of the seasons as symbolic death and rebirth, and others on whether it is unified in spite of the oppositions it contains” (Error! Bookmark not defined.). Thoreau did not try to write Walden as a story, or a novel with a beginning and an end. It does not have a plot line. It was written as a journal, in which Thoreau recorded his ideas and feelings that existed in his own heart, mind, and soul.

Everyone knows that Walden is about a guy who lived in the woods, but how many know the meaning, or what the message was? Thoreau?s words require the reader to think through some of the basic questions of life that few stop to even

think about. Thoreau encourages a deeper understanding of life. With his words, he is able to satisfy those that may be unsatisfied with their life, but one must read his actual words to get the complete picture.

Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology: American Literature. Shorter Fourth

Edition. New York: Norton, 1995.

Hart, James D. The Oxford Companion to American Literature. 6th Edition.

New York. Oxford University Press. 1983. P. 797-798.

Reading Walden. Ed. Robert Cambell. September 1, 1999. Gonzaga

University. October 26, 1999.

“Transcendentalism” Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation

Van Doren Stern. Philip, ed. The Annotated Walden: Walden; or Life in

the Woods. By Henry D. Thoreau. New York: Clarkson N. Potter,

Walden Study Guide

Walden Study Guide

Thoreau's Walden was written for a very specific audience. At its smallest, its intended audience is comprised of those Concord residents who had attended his lectures at the village lyceum and who had questions about the two years he had lived alone at Walden Pond. At its largest, this intended audience is a New England audience ­ an audience defined in some ways by a particular history, culture, and set of ideas. This is a New England in which a Puritan heritage, with a strong worth ethic, focus on property, and belief in a strict set of religious rules, continues to play a part. But this is also the New England ­ particularly in Concord ­ of intellectual rebellion and radical thought.

Thoreau's paternal grandfather, Jean Thoreau was a French immigrant who came to America in 1773, where he worked for Paul Revere and fought in the Revolutionary War. His maternal grandfather, Reverend Asa Dunbar, attended Harvard, where he was nearly expelled for leading a student protest about the quality of food. This was a New England of tradition, indeed. Thoreau himself would gain disapproval ­ though not official censure ­ while he himself was an undergraduate at Harvard, when he wore a green overcoat when all students were required to wear black. The administration, understanding that young Thoreau's limited financial resources prevented his purchase of another coat, refrained from admonishing him.

Thoreau himself was not so resigned when it came to expressing his opinions at Harvard, a school where most young Massachusetts men from respectable families studied. He was forced to take a leave of absence from the school in 1836 because he was ill, probably with tuberculosis. Unlike his literary contemporaries in England, members of the Romantic movement, Thoreau was not to take the view of this illness, commonly known as consumption, from which he would eventually die as a metaphor for the creative fires that burned in and consumed young the life of an artist. Thoreau returned to graduate with from Harvard with the Class of 1837. When offered a master's degree for only five dollars, with no requirement of study and the only condition being that he was alive three years later, Thoreau rejected and criticized the university's offer.

Another graduate of Harvard ­ both Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School ­ was Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau's Concord neighbor and one of his strongest literary influences. Emerson, while studying theology in the 1820s, became dissatisfied with the Unitarian religion, which had taken hold in Massachusetts. Gradually, he came to see Unitarianism as conservative and rationalist, a way for businessmen to engage in a religion that had become more of a social gathering than a connection with the divine. Founded in the United States in eighteenth-century within the Puritan Congregationalist Church, the Unitarian Church emphasized the oneness of God and preached that the divine could be perceived wholly through the five senses ­ through observation of the world and reading of others' observations in the Scriptures. In the early eighteenth century, the Unitarian and Congregationalist churches broke apart over doctrinal differences, including the Congregationalist emphasis on human sin and belief in the trinity. William Ellery Channing, a Boston minister, preached an address about Unitarian Christianity in 1819, crystallizing the Unitarian philosophy.

In his Divinity School address and in his book Nature, published in 1836, Emerson expressed what would become the tenets of the Transcendentalist movement. He and the movement's other followers, the majority of whom were Unitarian ministers, formed the Transcendentalist Club. They believed that Unitarianism did not provide for every human being's need and ability to experience the divine. According to the Transcendentalists, God dwelt in the soul of every person ­ a concept called immanence ­ and the world was divided into the soul and nature. Believing that human beings should find truth within themselves, Emerson emphasizes self-reliance, in an essay of the same name, and understand God through reason.

Emerson's presence in Concord led to the development of the town as an intellectual center. Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife lived for a time at the Old Manse, beginning on July 8, 1842, and Thoreau was known to dine with the couple as well as to plow and plant the Hawthornes' garden. The two remained close even after Hawthorne left Concord. Ellery Channing, son of William Ellery Channing, was another friend of Thoreau's. Channing suggested to Thoreau that he build a hut by Walden Pond, and after Thoreau's death, wrote the first biography of him, published in 1873. Other notable Concord residents of the time included Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Franklin Sanborn.

Thoreau's adoption of Transcendentalist beliefs was reflected in both his writing about nature as well as his political views. The Transcendentalists believed that though the world of the soul was paramount, it was necessary to recognize the truth and beauty of God's creation in the natural world. Thoreau took that one step farther, arguing in Walden that the divine exists not just in all people but can be perceived in all of nature. Furthermore, the idea of immanence served to strengthen Thoreau's belief in the equality of all people and support his abolitionist arguments. In "Civil Disobedience ," Thoreau urged people to look into themselves, rather than to society, to provide them with values by which to live and to take it upon themselves to oppose injustice in society.

Published in 1854, Walden enjoyed a moderately succesful first-run and continued its popularity into the 1870s. At that time, a series of unflattering biographies and harsh critical responses threatened to do away with Walden. Only in the 1890, when a favorable biography of Thoreau by Englishman Henry Salt sparked a resurgence in Thoreau's popularity, did Walden begin its ascent to the literary fame it now enjoys. New editions of Thoreau's work were published in 1893 and 1906. In the 1930s an increase of interest culminated in Henry Seidel Canby's 1939 biography of Thoreau. New editions of Walden and of Thoreau's other works have been published continually since then.

In 1941, the Thoreau Society was founded in Concord. Their mission is to honor Thoreau, stimulate interest in his writing, life, and times, and collect articles of memorabilia. The Thoreau Society, now located in Lincoln, Massachusetts, joined forces with Senators Ted Kennedy and Paul Tsongas, singer Don Henley, and a number of celebrities in the Walden Woods Project, formed in opposition to plans to develop the area around Walden Woods. The beach at Walden Pond and surrounding woods have long been at the center of an ongoing debate concerning use.

Thoreau's house, removed from its site in 1849, was excavated in the 1940s. Bronson Alcott, in his old age, had been marked the spot at which he remembered the house stood with a stone. Over the years, visitors have added stones of their own to the spot. A replica of the cabin, based upon a sketch by Thoreau's sister Sophia and his description in Walden and his journals, stands near the park.

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Walden essays

MegaEssays.com Walden


Being Henry Thoreau
In his book Walden, Thoreau packs up ship for two years and heads out to live a life of experiment and solitude. The ultimate purpose of his book is to make people aware of the lives they have submitted themselves to, and likewise re-evaluate what they place more value in; themselves or their possessions. The question Thoreau asks the reader is whether they control their possessions or do their possessions control them?
Reading this book can be mentally stressful. For some, Thoreau is a genius with revolutionary ideas and philosophy. For others, he is just a hermit and social reject who was angry at the world and wanted his voice heard. After reading the book, I believe that Thoreau makes a good point in many cases and presents ideas that are worth attention. Determining the effectiveness of the argument, however, is left to the individual. Debra Polaski, a proffersor of english literature at Louisiana State University, would argue that Thoreau was an entirely original writer and philosopher, not to mention convincing. In an essay by Polaski entitled Woods and Walden she writes "Thoreau took what was seen but not understood and gave it meaning. Nature is where life begins and starts, and Thoreau wanted to let society know of their ignorance"(Polaski).
As much as Polaski and others may think that Thoreau is the pioneer of individuality, many more would argue that he is not. In order to write an effective argument, you must convince people to see your way. Where Thoreau falls short is that he fails to set up credibility for himself. His ideas and philosophies are practically identical to those created by Ralph Waldo Emerson. So what exactly did Thoreau do, next to living in the woods, that hadn't been done by Emerson years before?.
Thoreau was the son of a successful pencil maker, graduated from Harvard in 1837 with respectable study in the classics, and six languages, and later founded his own school. In.

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Walden Essay - Walden

Walden Essay - Walden

Anxious to get away from the pressure and clutter of modern civilization, the twenty-seven-year-old Thoreau built a shack on the shore of Walden Pond, a mile or so from Concord, Massachusetts. Though he occasionally had visitors and often visited Concord, he basically lived alone for two years and two months, beginning on Independence Day, 1845.

While there, he kept a journal (as he had begun doing years before), recording his observations of the natural world, his criticisms of the society he had abandoned, and his speculations about the meaning of life. Upon returning to the regular company of mankind, he developed this material into a book.

To give his experience a coherent shape, he incorporated two years into one, so that the book could begin in the summer, descend into autumn and winter, and then emerge into spring, signifying the perpetual regeneration that was his dominant theme.

Like his mentor and fellow Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau believed that every man had to find his own way. All around him people were following courses that others had laid out for them and were consequently living lives of frustration rather than of fulfillment. Too often, people were enslaving themselves to the quest for material goods and allowing no time for pursuits of the spirit.

Thoreau sought to correct his age’s focus on ephemeral matters, from fashion to news, by making people aware of what was more permanent--the beauties of nature endlessly renewing themselves.

His style and language amply embody his themes. He delves beneath the surface of words and makes cliches fresh. His abstractions become concrete through parables and details of plant and animal life. He addresses the reader directly, not so much as a preacher but as an often wryly comic village raconteur.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” New York: Chelsea House, 1987. A representative selection of some of the best criticism of Thoreau’s Walden published since Stanley Cavell’s The Senses of “Walden” (1972). Although primarily a celebration of Thoreau, some essays question his solipsism and his debt to Emerson.

Cavell, Stanley. The Senses of “Walden.” New York: Viking Press, 1972. The prelude to the contemporary reading of Thoreau’s masterpiece. Cavell argues that Walden ’s mysteries can be learned by giving the fullest attention to all Thoreau said.

Myerson, Joel, ed. Critical Essays on Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” Boston: G. K. Hall, 1988. Contains a very complete record of critical reaction to Walden beginning with early reviews by Horace Greeley, George Eliot, and several anonymous reviewers of the day. The book also contains reprints of more than a dozen twentieth century essays examining such topics as the structure of Walden and its language.

Ruland, Richard, ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of “Walden”: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, 1968. An excellent source of discussion for Walden. Nine short essays and twelve shorter viewpoints by critics and writers offer a coherent reading of Thoreau’s book. Contains a brief chronology of Thoreau’s life.

Shanley, J. Lyndon. The Making of “Walden.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957. A detailed study of how Thoreau wrote the first version of Walden while living at Walden Pond and how he rewrote it between 1848 and 1854. Contains the text of the first edition of Walden.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition. Edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer. New Haven, Conn. Yale University Press, 2004. An authoritative, extensively annotated version of the text. Includes Thoreau’s notes and corrections to the text.