Essay about Thoreau's Proposed Solution in Walden and Civil Disobedience

Essay about Thoreau's Proposed Solution in Walden and Civil Disobedience

Length: 1834 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Thoreau's Proposed Solution in Walden and Civil Disobedience

 
In Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience, a problem is presented in the way in which we live our lives. Thoreau sees this problem and goes to Walden Pond to find the solution. Yet his solution is controversial in that it seems to propose actions that go against human nature. Thoreau's prescription for American desperation cannot be accepted by the masses for it is rooted in anti-socialism when humans are essentially social in nature. However, this conclusion is not entirely accurate, as one needs to explore Thoreau's entire solution and the intent of what he is saying in this work.

First, the problem needs to be defined as Thoreau sees it. And he sees this problem in Concord, the city in which he lives, as such a threat to his very survival and mental well being that he actually leaves this town to go live in semi-seclusion. The problems he observes within the town and people around him are actually numerous and yet all-encompassing. He observes some character traits inherent in the people of Concord as flawed and leading to the deconstruction of their humanity. These traits include desperation, materialism, commercialism, industriousness, and insincerity.

Desperation was like a combination of blinders and a weight tied to the ankle of every person. These 'desperate' men choose menial jobs and work long hours because "they honestly think there is no choice left" (Thoreau 50). They are caught in this continuous cycle of pursuing empty dreams and putting faith into the teachings of the old. Yet the old "have no very important advice to give the young", says Thoreau, "their own experience has been so partial, and their own lives have been suc...


... middle of paper ...


...n. It's not necessarily misanthropic or anti-social, it's his solution to a problem. This solution, however, is hard to understand and even more difficult to execute. Thoreau does offer us with a viable, if cryptic, solution.

Works Cited and Consulted

Botkin, Daniel B. "The Depth of Walden Pond: Thoreau as a Guide to Solving Twenty-First Century Problems." The Concord Saunterer, 9 (2001), 5-14.

Cafaro, Philip. "Thoreau's Virtue Ethics in Walden." The Concord Saunterer, 8 (2000), 23-47.

Richardson, Robert D. Jr. "The Social Ethics of Walden." In Myerson, 1988, 235-248.

Thoreau, Henry David. "Walden." Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter Fourth Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995.

Thoreau, Henry. "Civil Disobedience." Elements of Argument: A text and Reader. Ed. Annette T. Rottenberg. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Walden

- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American philosopher, author, poet, abolitionist, and naturalist. He was famous for his essay, “Civil Disobedience”, and his book, Walden. He believed in individual conscience and nonviolent acts of political resistance to protest unfair laws. Moreover, he valued the importance of observing nature, being individual, and living in a simple life by his own values. His writings later influenced the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. In “Civil Disobedience” and Walden, he advocated individual nonviolent resistance to the unjust state and reflected his simple living in the nature....   [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]

Powerful Essays
1527 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on The Need For Civil Disobedience

- Martin Luther King stated “Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.” Conscience is the main sense of human being that helps to distinguish what is wrong and what is right. Thus, conscience has to be a main driving force when people encounter unjust laws of government....   [tags: Civil Disobedience Essays]

Powerful Essays
1158 words (3.3 pages)

Proposed Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis Essay

- Today’s America is in crisis; we are in a recession. The greatest factor driving this major recession is Foreclosure many Americans are forced to face every day. In simple terms, the foreclosure crisis was caused by greed in the banking industry and too much optimism of the American people. This resulted in a bubble of subprime mortgage lending, which eventually collapsed once leading mortgage firms in the banking industry such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac needed to be bailed out by the government....   [tags: real estate, economics]

Powerful Essays
1240 words (3.5 pages)

Rationale For Selecting Proposed Solution Essay

- Rationale For Selecting Proposed Solution Diabetes and complications of diabetes is one of the critical health problem among people in America, which requires diverse array of intervention (American Diabetes Association, 2007). For the successful prevention of diabetic complications, it is very important for nurses to have knowledge regarding the diabetes, management and prevention of diabetic complications because nurses are the one who always remain with patients and provide care to them. Diabetic patients need specific care than other patients so nurses should be aware with the diabetic care it’s importance in preventing diabetic complications, which will prevent many life threatening con...   [tags: Health care, Health care provider]

Powerful Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

Proposed Solution for Solving the Foreclosure Problem Essay

- My proposed solution for the foreclosure problem has several parts. They include eliminating and legally banning interest only loans, mandatory loan modifications, government tax incentives to stay in a potentially foreclosed home and consumer education. Many years ago the mortgage companies created the thirty year home loan. It seems like this extended payment plan would benefit the homeowner by allowing more time to pay for the mortgage. The payments were smaller and more affordable than those of a shorter loan....   [tags: real estate]

Powerful Essays
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Civil Disobedience And The Law

- Civil disobedience is defined as any form of defiance of the law which is seen as unjust and unfair. There are many forms of this disobedience such as riots, demonstrations, and as simple acts as speaking out. On the other hand, authority figures are sworn in to protect and uphold the word of the law. These authority figures are police officers, FBI agents and many other forms of authority. When it comes to upholding the word of the law these authority figures make no exception with civil disobedience....   [tags: Law, Civil disobedience, Martin Luther King, Jr.]

Powerful Essays
1041 words (3 pages)

Lessons from Walden Two Essay

- Lessons from Walden Two Walden Two is a novel about a fictional community in present day America. The community is a Utopia of the highest standards: the people are happy and content, there is a minimum of hurtful emotions and activities, and everyone is healthy and prosperous. It is a stark contrast with the world we are living in today. So why don't we change our society to match that of Walden Two, solving all of our nation's many problems. For one thing, we do not know if a society patterned after Walden Two will work....   [tags: Thoreau Walden Two Essays]

Powerful Essays
1268 words (3.6 pages)

Essay Lost and Found in Walden

- Lost and Found in Walden Thoreau found himself at Walden - and lost himself on Ktaadn. Walden, a mile from town, was a benign experience in which he learned what he could do without, what was essential for life. Ktaadn, high and remote, taught him what he could not do without, what was essential life. He spoke of the hostility of the landscape. The mountain seemed to speak to him: "Why came ye here before your time. This ground is not prepared for you . . . I cannot pity or fondle you here, but (must) forever relentlessly drive thee hence to where I am kind." This landscape is hostile, not kind....   [tags: Walden Essays]

Free Essays
588 words (1.7 pages)

Civil Disobedience and the Abusive Power of Government Essay

- Civil Disobedience and the Abusive Power of Government In response to the annexation of Texas in 1845 by the United States, Henry David Thoreau's wrote the essay, Civil Disobedience.  Thoreau felt that this purely economic move by the United States expedited the Civil War, which he, and many Americans, disapproved of.  In his essay, Thoreau argues that government should not be in control of the people and that the people should be able to rule themselves freely however they please.  In addition, he clearly states and points out that in many instances it is best when individual rights take priority over state authority....   [tags: Thoreau Civil Disobedience]

Powerful Essays
847 words (2.4 pages)

Walden's Utopia Essay

- Walden's Utopia In a post-World War Two era, there was much longing for improvement on current society. Burrhus F. Skinner decided to give his take on what he felt were the appropriate steps to take in order to make a true "Utopia." There have been attempts at other utopia's (which is from the Greek for "no place") and Skinner in his book took the best elements of each utopia and put them into one. However, this does not mean that this utopia he creates in his story, called Walden Two, emulating Thoreau's Walden Pond in Maine, is not without flaws....   [tags: Walden Philosophy No Place Utopia]

Free Essays
1695 words (4.8 pages)