Henry Thoreau's Where I Lived and What I Lived For and E.B. White's Once More to the Lake

Henry Thoreau's Where I Lived and What I Lived For and E.B. White's Once More to the Lake

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Henry Thoreau's Where I Lived and What I Lived For and E.B. White's Once More to the Lake


At first glance, Henry Thoreau’s, Where I Lived and What I Lived For, and E.B. White’s, Once More to the Lake, have nothing in common. After several readings; however, one can interpret that both authors have the same message. Even though Thoreau and White use extremely different styles, they both portray nature as the simplest way of life. Thoreau writes an argumentative essay in the 1800’s trying to persuade society to “simplify” by going back to relying on nature instead of technology (50 Essays pg. 417). White writes a 1900’s narrative about his visit to his childhood lake where he shockingly discovers how nature reveals the essence of life. While Once More to the Lake by E.B. White is a subtle portrayal that compares nature to simplicity, Where I Lived and What I Lived For by Henry Thoreau is a clear-cut approach in comparing nature to simplicity.

Henry David Thoreau, an advocate of naturalism and self-sufficiency, performed an experiment in order to develop a theory on the role of nature in society. One of the outcomes of this experiment is his essay, Where I Lived and What I Lived For. Thoreau argues that humanity is too dependent on technology and the government. “An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest,” (50 Essays pg. 417). Thoreau explains that people do not need educational institutions to teach mathematics because nature has already given us the tools to learn all subjects. Nature gives us our common sense; therefore, school is unnecessary. Where I Lived and What I Lived For also criticizes the fact that humanity depends too mu...


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....B. White both have a main goal--to reverse the blindness of humanity to nature. These authors use nature to explain the essence of life. People currently strive to obtain the most money, the most food, the most of everything. Humans originated from nature but it has become foreign to society because of the way that man has committed himself to the economics of the nation. Henry David Thoreau states in Where I Lived and What I Lived For, “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” (50 Essays pg. 417). E.B. White’s Once More to the Lake is an example of what nature can do to a man. He came to grips with his own mortality at the lake. White then began to appreciate his life and the simplicity of it. These two essays inadvertently go hand in hand where Thoreau defines and White exemplifies. Thoreau and White both compare nature to everyday life, but at different capacities.

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