on his travels without rest or slumber” (Thoreau 111). These quotes allude to the famous myth of Apollo driving his chariot and the sun around the earth, causing sunrise and sunset. By referencing this myth, Thoreau shows how he is overwhelmingly awed by the
train’s ability to be punctual, powerful, and important. He clearly feels amazed and almost intimidated by how much the community relies on the train, such as how “farmers set their clocks by them, and thus one well-conducted institution regulates a whole country” (Thoreau 111), similar to how the Ancient Greeks relied upon the sun. Furthermore, Thoreau’s choice of allusion to Apollo emphasizes the train’s power and its parallel Yao 5 to civilization and society. Since Apollo was known for his support for the arts and civilization, the allusion rejects Thoreau’s intentions of leaving civilization behind at Walden Pond. Thoreau uses this allusion to match his true reverence for Apollo and his divine powers, therefore showing maximum praise for the train when he compares it to him. Although Thoreau escapes to Walden Pond to try to deprive himself of civilization, he realizes, through his fascination with the train, that nature and his surrounding environment are reliant on it. Henry David Thoreau sends mixed messages in his elaborate description about the train in his book, Walden . However, through a careful analysis of his use of metaphors, imagery, and allusions to Greek Mythology, Thoreau clearly has developed a love-hate relationship with the train, and tells us that he does not simply hate the train. In fact, its power and authority fascinate him, and he clearly respects how this well-oiled machine makes both the natural and civilized environments run like clockwork. Thoreau’s contradicting feelings for the train is actually a microcosm for how so many things in life are not what they appear to be. Like Yin and Yang, the things you hate and
love may be somehow interconnected, and working together to make the your world run like a well-oiled machine. Works Cited Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Other Writings . Ed. Brooks Atkinson. New York: Modern Library, 1992. Print.
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