Criticism Of Henry David Thoreau

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Many scholarly critics of Henry David Thoreau categorize him as an outdated, impostor because of a buildup of numerous misunderstandings about his goals in his retreat to Walden and the conclusions gathered. Because of his many trips to the nearby town of Concord and the idea that his mother did his laundry, critics of Thoreau state that his Walden experiment was not valid, yet in no form did Thoreau state his intention to remain in the woods for the whole experiment. In reaction to the misguided opinions associated with Thoreau today, Rebecca Solnit responds to these critics in the hope of clarifying Thoreau’s endeavors, revealing the lasting impact and power of his conclusions. By traveling to the secluded woods to escape the disorganized and disillusioned layout of society, in Thoreau’s book Walden, he addresses the importance of nature and asserts the need to reassess society’s place in the reality of the world around them. Although…show more content…
9). Although Thoreau’s goal was a life of simplicity, he was not aiming for a life free from pleasures. He merely wished “not … to live what was not life” (Thoreau 135). This meant spending time enjoying nature and doing things for himself, but not everything. Solnit asserts that one can simultaneously have a “passion for justice” while finding “pleasure in small things” (“The Thoreau Problem par. 9). Just as Thoreau can seclude himself in his cabin to contemplate the true meaning of life, so too can he wander into town to get a home cooked meal and clean laundry. His return to town has no effect on the findings he gathers about the importance of simplicity, independence, and nature. By drawing this parallel and falsifying the many misconceptions held against Thoreau, Solnit allows the ideas of Thoreau and the value of such ideas to be accessible to readers in this
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