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Walden_103A_I - Henry David Thoreau 1817­1862 Henry David...

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Unformatted text preview: Henry David Thoreau, 1817­1862 Henry David Thoreau, 1817­1862 I. Thoreau in Context I. Thoreau in Context 1841­43, Opening Oregon Trail 1846­48, US­Mexican War 1850 Fugitive Slave Law 1854 Kansas­Nebraska Act 1861­65 Civil War “What does Africa,­­what does the West stand for? Is not our own interior white on the chart? Black though it may prove, like the coast, when discovered. Is it the source of the Nile, or the Niger, or the Mississippi, or a North­West passage around this continent, that we would find? Are these the problems that most concern mankind?...Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice. Yet some can be patriotic who have no self­respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less.” (286) from “Conclusion” to Walden II. Thoreau and the Pastoral II. Thoreau and the Pastoral Pastoral poetry, prose, and art represent a withdrawal from the modern world of industry to “a place apart” that is close to the elemental rhythms of Nature. The purpose of pastoral is often to critique the modern culture of towns and cities—and to do so by contrasting the corrupt social world to an idealized Nature. Lowell Mills, on the Merrimack River Lowell Mills, on the Merrimack River Thomas Cole, The Arcadian or Pastoral State Thomas Cole, (1836) Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803­1882 Ralph Waldo Emerson, simile: a comparison between two distinctly different things, explicitly indicated by the words “like” or “as.” metaphor: a comparison which imaginatively identifies one thing with another unlike thing, and transfers to the first thing (the idea or tenor) qualities of the second (the image or vehicle). Example: “That soldier (tenor) is a lion (vehicle)” Heavy on the vehicle, light on the tenor! Extravagant Thoreauvian Extravagant Thoreauvian Metaphors “Why, the owner does not know it for many years when a poet has put his farm in rhyme, the most admirable kind of invisible fence, has fairly impounded it, milked it, skimmed it, and got all the cream, and left the farmer only the skimmed milk.” (“Where I Lived, What I Lived For,” 76) “I fear chiefly lest my expression may not be extra­ vagant enough, may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limits of my daily experience, so as to be adequate to the truth of which I have been convinced. Extra vagance! It depends on how you are yarded. The migrating buffalo, which seeks new pastures in another latitude, is not extravagant like the cow which kicks over the pail, leaps the cow­yard fence, and runs after her calf, in milking time. I desire to speak somewhere without bounds; like a man in a waking moment, to men in their waking moments; for I am convinced that I cannot exaggerate enough even to lay the foundation of a true expression.” (289) “Conclusion,” of Walden “I went to the woods to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” “Where I Lived, What I Lived For” ...
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