Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

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Walden by Henry David Thoreau

 

  Walden, by Henry David Thoreau is written in first person about the events and ideas that came to the author during his time living at Walden Pond in the eighteen hundreds.  Henry David Thoreau was a poet and a philosopher who lived a life of simplicity in order to make a direct connection between people, God, and nature.  He viewed knowledge as an "intuitive force rather than a set of learned, logical proofs."  His writing in Walden focused on many different themes, including the relationship between light and dark, the ideas and importance of nature, the meaning of progress, the importance of detail, and the relationship between the mind and body.  He also developed many philisophical ideas concerning knowing yourself, living simply and deliberately, and seeking truth.

 

 

    In the first section of Walden entitled "Economy," Thoreau develops his ideas of living simply and deliberately.  He believed that "it is best to want less," and that "there is no point of living if it is not deliberate."  By living deliberately he meant giving each part of life attention, whather in observing humans or nature, and living during "all moments of life."  He believed that humans had only four basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel.  The object of each of these necessities is to "conserve an individuals energy."  He also believed that "gluttony is bad," and so we should "only content ourselves with possesions that we need."  Thoreau focussed on living deliberately,  and stated "to settle, and to feel reality in its fullness, is the point."

 

 

    Many of the next sections of Walden focussed on the relationship between the mind and body.  In the section "Solitude," he explained that "sensations exist within our mind even when our body senses them."  Thoreau felt that physical closeness does not translate into mental closeness, or vice-versa.  He claimes that "it is not the physical possesion of the physical acts that caused one to take possession of a place, but rather the mental acts."  he believed that we are our minds, and that our bodies are not as important.  In the section "Highes Laws," he stated that "to truly live is to truly be aware of all that we can do, and then to ue all parts of ourselves.

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"  Thoreau truly believed that the mind should redeem the body.

 

 

    In the section Thoreau uses to conclude the book, he stresses the importance of knowing yourself.  He stated that "truth means more than love, than money, than fame.  He also advised that if you want to travel, you should explore yourself.  He stated that "the world of nature is but a means of inspiration for us to know ourselves."  He also believed that "it is the interpretation of nature by man, and what it symbolizes in the higher spiritual world that is important to the transcendentalists."  Thoreau used his writing to show people what is possible, and to inspire them to find their own paths; to walk to a different drummer, rather than all being alike.  The path that Thoreau took in Walden is just one way to reach that end.

 

 

 
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