Thorau's Contradictions Of Thoreau

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Despite being considered a hypocrite by his critics, Thoreau's contradictions help broaden his appeal. Often times, critics such as Schulz rely on common cliches such as the “mile” walk to Concord, and how Thoreau would feast on his mother’s “cookies.” These exact contradictions are referenced in Walden, as Thoreau remarks that he is but “a mile” from Concord, showing a self-awareness from the author. Schulz appears to believe that “Thoreau's retreat was a desperate compromise,” an excuse to allow him to write about his time in the woods. Rather, the core idea of the retreat is that through simplicity, Thoreau was allowed a richer life. Thoreau lived among his siblings, his mentors, his neighbors, enjoying the time they had together. Walden…show more content…
Thoreau adopts an “I” in Walden as a persona, as a way to question different ways of living, and propose different concepts to his readers. His “I” is akin to a Dickinson poem, becoming the voice that guides the readers, but might not necessarily have been shared by the author himself. Schulz attempts to defame Thoreau literary persona by criticizing the fictional aspects of the story. “Read charitably, it is a kind of semi-fictional extended meditation featuring a character named Henry David Thoreau” (Pond Scum). Schulz fails to make the distinction between Thoreau the man and Thoreau the literary character. The “I” in the story is another side of Thoreau that he used to explore different aspects of the world. Thoreau was a vegetarian that ate meat, and a pacifist that endorsed violence. He questioned the concepts that have become associated with his name. Donovan Hahn of the New Republic says that Thoreau thought of Walden “as a poem...not nonfiction,” which is a genre and label that did not yet exist. Due to not being able to realize the split between Thoreau the man and his persona, Schulz misinterprets Thoreau’s investigation of life as that of a

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