Mrs. Grene AP English Language Set 5
Analysis of Chapter Three of Walden: “Reading”
Walden is one of the most familiar names of novels from the transcendentalism period of the 19th century. It is an enduring masterpiece which truly shows that the necessities of life are not material possessions, but rather spiritual enrichment and closeness to nature. In chapter three of Walden, Henry David Thoreau conveys the relevance of reading to his simplistic and naturalistic lifestyle portrayed throughout the novel by making use of themes and symbols such as immortality, mornings and veils. Thoreau additionally uses rhetorical strategies that include a combination of long and poetic questions, polysyndeton, and strong words to create emphasis within a flowing and continuous tone, and which demonstrates his strong belief in the importance of reading novels that are challenging yet timeless classics.
Throughout this novel, Thoreau stresses his philosophy of straying away from modernization and materialism and venturing towards minimalism and personal as well as spiritual growth. This is expressed from chapter one where he states his wish for people to freely spend more time on improving themselves rather than acquiring wealth, to chapter 18 where he advises readers to start a new life and stray away from conformity. In chapter three however, he specifically relays that if people are willing to put the time and effort in, they can achieve a new or improved life by pursuing knowledge found in mature quality novels, which can make one wiser. The arduous task of reading and thinking through such books brought one away from the chaos of everyday life, and brought one closer to nature, whic...
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...oquent and lengthy sentences mixed with various strong words, he utilizes rhetorical strategies that force the reader to stay focused while promoting his belief that quality novels should be held in a very high regard. By incorporating various symbols, Thoreau draws the reader in and emphasizes his message of spiritual fulfillment from nature. As Thoreau wrote about immortality, he implies that the best novels make words and concepts seem timeless, and therefore immortal. Perhaps that was what Thoreau wanted- a timeless novel that could carry the message of straying away from materialism and working towards simplistic self-progression through generations of novels. If that was Thoreau’s goal, then he succeeded. Walden is one of the most influential and well-known novels, even in the modern 20th century, and his message is one that many people today need to hear.
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