Just a few steps down the large concrete blocks,
My dry feet step into the cold sand.
It takes one deep breath,
Immediately I am surrounded by nature.
I am in my tranquil state,
Nothing else matters.
And there it is,
The feeling of serenity which Thoreau so often wrote about,
It envelops me,
Takes over my body like a spirit has just entered my soul.
The cool breeze blows wind through my wavy hair,
Causing curls to fall down into my blue eyes.
This is the place where I should be,
Where I was meant to be.
just me and mother nature.
Sitting on a small round rock,
I watch the orange sun as it begins to set,
Its final rays glisten off of the choppy water.
This is where I belong.
Just contemplating when the sun will set.
As I relax my mind and close my eyes,
I hear the sound of the forest,
I hear no sounds of a car, lights, or other human beings.
Just the simple sounds of undisturbed life.
I see one man,
The bubble man,
Doing what his heart desires.
He is at ease with himself,
Making no disturbances to the moment,
This I am ok with.
I am content right now,
I am free,
Alone in my own, peaceful world.
Fitz 9th English Section 2
Walden Literary Analysis #2
I think that it would be better than this, for the students, or those who desire to be benefited by it, even to lay the foundation themselves.
-Quote from Chapter I of Walden
The strongest education is one in which the learner experiences learning hands on. In Economy, Chapter I in Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, Thoreau talks about the true way in which people learn best, which is by going out and experiencing something, and learning from that experience. Thoreau was certainly one who challenged society a lot, but was able to because he was so disattached from it. He states how many adults are paying loads of money for their children to be sent to school, only to sit in a pedantic classroom full of lectures and lessons taught by unenthusiastic teachers. In turn, what he says they should be doing is allowing their kids the freedom to explore the world at first hand, because that is how they will learn the most effectively and efficiently. After attending Harvard undergrad, and then pursuing a vastly different lifestyle, which was far away from the classroom, Henry David Thoreau contrasts his experiences in school with his experiences living in a log cabin in the woods, facing only the bare essentials of life. Clearly, Thoreau enjoys the second lifestyle more, and is certainly not afraid to voice his opinion on the first part, education:
They should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics.
Thoreau declares true education as learning something from experience; he says that school is a waste of time; a waste of money; and that parents are better off letting their kids be free. He believes that people learn best when they face the inevitable, and are forced to learn in order to stay alive and to thrive in their lives. He knows and says that the way he lives is not suited for everyone, but he wants people to attempt to be and do what they love, and learn from their experiences living simply. Thoreau is encouraging more people to leave the classroom, and learn what they need to learn, and more importantly, what they want to learn. After all, the wisest and most educated man in the one who learns from experience.
Fitz 9th English Section 2
Walden Literary Analysis #2
I went to the woods because I wished 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.
-Quote from Walden chapter I
The happiest people are those who march to their own drums. In Economy, the first chapter in Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, Thoreau speaks to the true way in which happiness is acquired and maintained. Thoreau observed society throughout his time in Concord, but he payed closest attention to the things that make people happy. He states how although people are fundamentally different, the same things make them happy. One basic principal that makes one happy is their choice of being who they are, and doing what they want, and not conforming to what others want to see from them just to fit in. Henry David Thoreau was a man who spoke his true feelings. He stated his thoughts clearly and concisely, and with conviction. In his time in Concord, during the mid 1800's, Thoreau built a small log cabin next to Walden Pond, on the outskirts of what was Concord center, and observed society from the outside. Through being an observationist, he was able to examine how people live their lives, and his and other's feelings were very evident with him:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Thoreau declares an individual as someone who follows what their heart endeavors; he knows that people are going to dislike him and his writing for its brutalness and harshness; and he choses to write in this style anyways because it is what makes him happy. This is what made him such a wise man. He saw what he saw, and wrote about that, as opposed to being influenced by others. In the end, it doesn't matter what others think of you, it doesn't matter if you do not fit in, and it doesn't matter if others are happy with who you are, it only matters if you are happy with yourself.
"I went to the woods because I wished 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." -Henry David Thoreau
With these words Henry David Thoreau declared the purpose of his Walden experiment, the two years he spent in the Concord woods testing his belief in the ability of man to transcend his senses and attain a higher understanding of life.
"Henry David Thoreau was a complex man of many talents who worked hard to shape his craft and his life, seeing little difference between them." -Ann Woodlief
Most of the time, philanthropy is done for the helper to gain bravado from others, as opposed to him doing what he 'endeavors'. In the final chapter of Walden, The Fallacy of Philanthropy, by Henry David Thoreau, Thoreau calls out all of those false do-gooders, saying that many people help others for the sake of appearing to be good people. He says that, “If you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to them." I agree with this point which Thoreau has to offer. Using many professional athletes for example. Many of them make millions of dollars each year, and then give away a small portion of their money (which is still a lot of money) to charity for the sole purpose of gaining media attention, and getting more people to like them. In a way this is like bragging. They are using their money to make themselves look good and charitable, and as Thoreau says; “do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, for it is not worth knowing." This certainly does not ring true for all athletes. People like Magic Johnson, who Thoreau supports in Walden, are charitable athletes who have started foundations, and truly care for the greater good of humanity:
“But I would not stand between any man and his genius; and to him who does this work, which I decline, with his whole heart and soul and life.”
Later on in the chapter, Thoreau begins to talk about the poor, and how they have become impoverished. He says that for the most part, those who become poor succumb to being poor because it is their 'taste.' “Often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross. It is partly his taste, and not merely his misfortune.” I disagree with this statement. I believe that Thoreau has misconceived the notion of being poor, which I believe is not having a sufficient enough amount of money to meet their one's. Yes, some people choose to be ragged and dirty because they enjoy it, but nobody chooses to struggle with putting food on their plates. The world wouldn't have hunger problems if one could choose whether or not they wanted to be hungry.
Overall, I have deeply enjoyed reading Economy, and I look forward to delving into other chapters of Walden.
"After all, the man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages."
~Henry David Thoreau
The wisest learn from and are enlightened by personal experience: being taught and contented by their actions, not by other's actions and teachings. In Education and in Money and Work, Henry David Thoreau explores this theme. In both chapters, Thoreau describes his experiences of his education, with money, and with labor.
In the first chapter; Education, Thoreau discusses his experience with education, and how one can educate himself more than others can educate him. "To my astonishment I was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation!-why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor I should have know more about it." What Thoreau is trying to say is that the easiest and best education is when you go outside and experience it head on; when you are forced to make discoveries, and to learn about something in order to succeed. I believe that this rings true today. Education is still vital to humanity, but there needs to be more hands on education. Fenn does a great job of this, but I know of many schools that do not. People are most intrigued by what they can see and touch, and less animostic about learning when what they need to learn is at their fingertips.
The following chapter, Money and Work, is about the true necessity of money in one's life, and the stupidity of labor in order to become rich. As Thoreau states in Necessities and in Clothing and Shelter, those who have 'accumulated dross' are the most impoverished class of all. His main point in this chapter is that one should only work to make enough money to live off of, and that person will be the happiest one. Also stated in this chapter is that it is rewarding to 'experience' nature at first hand. "And so, if the railroad reached around the world, I think that I should keep ahead of you; and as for seeing the country and getting experience of that kind, I should have cut your acquaintance all together." Thoreau, who was extremely parsimonious, is saying that it is important to save money when possible, and spend it on things that are vital in one's life. I agree with what Thoreau has to say in Money and Work. I believe that it is vital to practice saving up your money, and allocating it the correct way; however, I must disagree with his point about only working for the necessary amount of money, and leaving the rest of your time to be free. I say this because nowadays, more than ever, money is key in order to survive, and everything has gotten so expensive: food, water, supplies, and more, and one must have a little bit of extra money for their endeavors; on the contrary, money isn't the key to happiness.
After all; "to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime."
"There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest."
-Henry David Thoreau
Spring is when one returns from their hiding during wintertime, and becomes part of the world once again. In The Experiment, a chapter from Henry David Thoreau's Walden, spring has just arrived.
With spring comes various tasks. After winter: one's 'hibernation' from labor, many challenges present themselves.
After a long winter, Thoreau begins these tasks: chopping wood, exploring nature, gathering supplies to build his house, and more. Despite being preoccupied, Thoreau still takes the time to reflect on these experiences in his journal.
For me, it is amazing how Thoreau's journal is so thorough and meticulous, especially for a busy man. I believe that Thoreau saw his journaling as a necessity, and this is what made him so fastidious in this hobby of his. Quite possibly my favorite adjunct of Thoreau's writing is his extensive use of imagery on top of actions, most often relating to his observance of nature. All of these imageries are made possible by his outdoorism, and constant exploration of nature.
"The life that had lain torpid began to stretch itself.
"The snakes in frosty mornings in my path with portions of their bodies still numb and inflexible."
"The dirt being raised five feet all around as if it were a compost heap."
Thoreau was someone who sat back and watched, but unlike most, he did this in a proactive way. He was so insightful because he observed every little detail of all that went on around him. He was also a brilliant writer. The content of his writing is not what makes it interesting, in fact, I find the content of his writing boring and dull; all it is is a giant journal. The reason so many people read and are reading his writing; including myself, is because of HOW he wrote. His writing is so detailed, yet a mystery. He arranged words and phrases into sentences which cause you to think about what he just said.
For me, every time I read Thoreau's writing, I become more interested in it.
"But most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulate dross, but know not how to use is, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters."
~Henry David Thoreau
One's necessities in life are basic, and often one's extra wants and desires bring out an undesired burden. In chapters 3 and 4 of Walden, Henry David Thoreau expands upon the theme from the previous chapter; Necessities, by stating that there are only basic necessities involved with clothing and shelter. He then goes on to ridicule society and their tunnel vision involved with their clothing choices, as well as the "common man" for never considering what a true house is. All the while, Thoreau weaves in his personal life experiences to make reading his work evermore interesting.
"A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do." An excerpt from Clothes.
"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion." An excerpt from Shelter.
These are examples of why I enjoy reading Thoreau's writing. One of my favorite styles and skills of his writing is his ability to contrast examples from his personal experiences with his experiences of observing civilization. When thoughtfully reading his writing, I am always able to contrast his thoughts with examples in my life today. It is what makes his reading relatable.
Another aspect of Thoreau's writing which I enjoy is the wording he uses at some points in his writing like; "answer me these questions." This is something that keeps me entertained as a reader, because it makes his sentences sound robust and meaningful as opposed boring and dull.
There is one criticism I have when reading Thoreau, which is his constant jeer towards civilization. Although I commend him for stating his thoughts and speaking from the heart, there are some instances where his writing can become offensive.
Overall I have found myself enjoying Walden thus far, and I look forward to getting deeper into the book.
No one can define a man's true necessities until they have lived a life of simplicity, with only basic needs in their life. Thoreau is one of the people who lived a life of simplicity, and who reflected on this life. In chapter 2 of Walden, Thoreau reflects on the true necessities of man. Other than the two main necessities: food and shelter, he says anything else is simply unnecessary, and can often be a burden. Of course to add on, the necessities in ones life may be "distributed" under the several heads of Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel. He then goes on to say most of the luxuries and so called "comforts" of life are not indispensable, and in fact may deplete happiness in one's lifetime.
"Seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden silver fetters."
In the first two chapters of Walden, it has been made clear to me that Thoreau has a sophisticated way of writing about the simplest things. This quotes epitomizes Thoreau's style of writing. It is what makes his dialect so intriguing to read. In a complex, non-simplistic way, Thoreau is stating how money cannot buy happiness, and how the happiest life of all is a simple one. He is directly stating his thoughts in scrutinizing detail. He was not afraid to say what he believed, which is something that I admire. Thoreau's point is one that resonates with me. There are some things that I have gotten, whether big or small, that after purchasing, I lost interest in very quickly. This gives me anger and guilt sometimes, because it makes me feel wasteful.
It amazes me that even though almost 200 years ago, thoreau's discoveries about nature and civilization are still valid today.