Walden Review-Final

Walden Review-Final - Dr Welch HIS 140 Walden Book Review...

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Dr. Welch HIS 140 4/23/07 Walden: Book Review Emanating from the 1850’s, Walden by Henry David Thoreau is a beautifully crafted literary piece. More than its style, more than its imagery is the underlying elements behind the text of the book itself. Thoreau’s philosophy is heavily prevalent in the novel, and almost reads as a treatise. Unfortunately, pages upon pages of analysis could be written on Thoreau’s work. Commentary on his use of language, on the way the novel is structured, on the vivid pictures painted within, on his beliefs could be extensively done, and would still leave more to be desired. So to condense Walden down is doing it a disservice, but is essential. A self-reflection piece more than a work written to be sold to the masses, Walden reads like it is meant to be only the private musings of its author, not meant for public viewing. This is precisely the beauty of the word that is written. Created while in seclusion at Walden Pond; the feeling of simple honesty is genuine. The structure can be confusing at first, because any thought that seems to pop into Thoreau’s mind seems to be written down, but that is the magnificence of the piece. The book is divided into many chapters, each with its own unique name, and each containing different stories, anecdotes, and musings. The reader isn’t sure what is next, and is left with a desire to find out what is in store. To also truly understand where the concepts and ideas stem from within Walden , one has to understand the idea of self-reliance. Building upon earlier works by Ralph
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Waldo Emerson, Thoreau uses the idea of self reliance as a central theme to Walden . The entire concept of living alone, with no one to rely on but oneself, is carried out within Walden . This is not a bash against contact with other humans per say, but it is a statement against society as a whole. Indeed, in his chapter Visitors, Thoreau goes on to say “…am ready enough to fasten myself like a bloodsucker for the time to any full-blooded man that comes in my way.” (Thoreau 132). He has urges for human contact, just as most men do. Also throughout the book, is Thoreau’s desire to live plainly, in a simple way. Nature being possibly the only necessary neighbor, in Where I Lived, and What I Lived For he goes on to say “This small lake was of most value as a neighbor in the intervals of a gentle rain-storm in August, when, both air and water being perfectly still, but the sky overcast, mid-afternoon had all the serenity of evening, and the wood thrush sang around, and was heard from shore to shore.” (Thoreau 82) To Thoreau, there is no need for artificial entertainment. There is no need for lavish, extravagant shows. Nature in itself provides enough beauty that one can view to pass the time, but also that Nature itself is a simply being, and that it needs to be appreciated. The last major theme throughout the novel is the false promises of progress,
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This note was uploaded on 06/27/2008 for the course HIS 140 taught by Professor Welch during the Spring '07 term at Mt. Wachusett.

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Walden Review-Final - Dr Welch HIS 140 Walden Book Review...

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