Dillard and Thoreau Comparison

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Dillard and Thoreau Comparison From the lone hiker on the Appalachian Trail to the environmental lobby groups in Washington D.C., nature evokes strong feelings in each and every one of us. We often struggle with and are ultimately shaped by our relationship with nature. The relationship we forge with nature reflects our fundamental beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. The works of timeless authors, including Henry David Thoreau and Annie Dillard, are centered around their relationship to nature. The love for nature is one that is formed when young. Thoreau shows evidence of early development of a lifelong love for nature that he would carry with him in everything that he did. As a young boy of ten he was fond of walking deep into the woods that surrounded his home in Concord in search of solitude (Salt 18). Thoreau expressed an interest in living at Walden Pond at the age of ten (Salt 19). His love of nature can largely be credited to qualities inherited from his mother (Salt 22). It would rightfully be his love of nature that he would be remembered for. Thoreau after graduating from Harvard College began to keep a journal that he filled with the many thoughts and observations that came to him on his daily walks about Concord (Richardson 7). These Journals would spawn into the many books that he wrote, the most prominent being Walden. Thoreau was a self-taught naturalist, who spent much of his time systematically studying the natural phenomena almost exclusively around Concord (Witherell and Dubrulle). His Journal contains these careful observations, such as the cycles of plants, of local water levels, and many other natural phenomena (Witherell and Dubrulle). These Journals help to impress the love that he held for nature. It is this feeling that has propelled him to be considered by many to be the leader of the environmental movement (Buell 171). Thoreau himself cared little for group activities, religious or political, and even avoided organized reform movements (Gougeon 195). The abolitionist movement did however bring Thoreau out and into the public forum (Salt 140). As he became further involved with his Journal and his examination of nature he began to develop into an environmentalist and natural historian (Buell 172). This is evident by his views represented in Walden regarding the progress that was taking place in Concord at the time (Witherell and Dubrulle).

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