Simplicity and Freedom in Walden by Henry David Thoreau

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In chapter two of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, entitled "Where I Lived, and What I Lived for", there are two themes that run throughout the narrative. The key theme that emerges continually is that of simplicity with the additional theme being that of freedom. Thoreau finds himself surrounded by a world that has no true freedom or simplified ways, with people committed to the world that surrounds them rather than being committed to their own true self within nature. Simplicity is defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as a simple state or quality; freedom from complexity; absence of elegance and luxury; uncomplicated. In the world today, many people think that an iphone or computer watch may make their world simple, but these technologies only make the world we live in more complex. Somehow there is confusion between simple and easy. It is most certainly easier to phone someone from your car rather than pulling over to a pay phone and getting out a quarter. It is also easier to put a letter in the fax machine rather than addressing an envelope and putting a stamp on it and walking it to the mailbox. These two instances that have been described are, in fact, easier, but not simpler. Simple is not having to figure out how to use the cell phone or fax machine and, at the same time, having these two items cluttering our space. Fewer people communicate through cards and letters now because we have e-mail and fewer people go to the library because we have the Internet. These are great items and they may make life easier, but not simpler. Thoreau craves the unsophisticated way of life. He agrees that too much stuff does not make life simpler, but more congested. The nation itself, with all its so-calle... ... middle of paper ..., mowing the grass, feeding the animals, and harvesting the garden. The only real value of the farm, the close contact with nature, can be had for no cost. Thoreau found more freedom in his small hut by the pond where he was truly free from the trivial life of living in a village. He was free from the commercial rat race and was able to let himself be roused by nature. If Thoreau were still alive today, he would probably be astounded at how committed we are to so many things. The world that surrounds us has developed into a hurry up and wait situation. We are constantly in a hurry. We live in a world with drive through windows and breakfast bars. If we continue to hurry through life trying to get everything done so quickly, when do we really enjoy our life and our freedom? As Thoreau states, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?" (6).
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