Chosen question: 5. Aspect the lessons discovered by Henry David Thoreau in chapters 1 and 18 of Walden, and summarize what part these lessons play in Thoreau's philosophy of "a life of convenience" (1879).
Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is a content material written in the first person perspective which details the experience of the author during his two season test in living at Walden Fish-pond; and the philosophical ideas that came to him during his stay there, regarding living simply and deliberately, knowing yourself, and looking for truth. In Walden, Thoreau portrays himself "as an exemplary shape who - by virtue of his philosophical questionings, monetary common sense, nonconformity, and appreciative observation of the natural world - could provide as a model for others" (Baym 1853).
In particular, Walden deals with Thoreau's concept of living a life of straightforwardness. He believes that lessons in simplifying one's experience and self reliance ends up with a happier living. He states that complicating one's life is unnecessary and can only lead to dissatisfaction.
He illustrates his idea of ease when he realises that the three rocks on his desk need dusting daily he throws them out the windows - stating:
"I had developed three bits of limestone on my office, but I used to be terrified to discover that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my head was all undusted still, and threw them out the home window in disgust"(Thoreau Walden 32).
He argues that owning more than life's needs afflicts one's heart and soul with fret and limitation, and therefore costing them their inner freedom.
Thoreau runs on the prophetic tone to inform his audience the moral of his Walden test. He wrote complete accounts of his time at Walden to be able to allow others who "labor under a mistake" (Thoreau Walden 3) to be enlightened about the advantages of a simplified life-style.
In Thoreau's Journal, the admittance entitled "Snow-Crust", dated 29th of Feb 1852, he identifies simpleness as "regulations of aspect for men as well as for plants" (Thoreau Journal 324). On the 1st of September of the following time, in his Journal admittance called "Simplicity in Living", Thoreau identifies "two varieties of straightforwardness" (Thoreau Journal 411). The first being of the savage who he says to be: "both outwardly and inwardly simple" (Thoreau Journal 412). The second type of simpleness he gives to the philosopher's method of living, which he deems "only outwardly simple, but inwardly sophisticated" (Thoreau Journal 411).
In Walden, Thoreau urges, "Simplicity, simplicity, straightforwardness! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or one thousand; instead of a million count up half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail" (Thoreau Walden 84). He views American contemporary society to be ". . . cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless charge. . . and the only real cure for it. . . is at a rigid market, a stern and more than Spartan ease of life and elevation of purpose" (Thoreau Walden 84).
Thoreau got two main affects which encouraged him the carry out his Walden test. The first being Stearns Wheeler, who had "built a hut on the pondy shoreline near Concord" where Thoreau have been his guest years before (Thoreau Bode 258). Another prominent affect on Thoreau was his like-minded friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was simply "the most important influence and camaraderie of [Thoreau's] life" (Baym 1854). It was Emerson's transcendentalist publication "Nature", publicized in 1836, that Thoreau drew some of his philosophical ideas which encouraged his writing (Thoreau Bode 258).
In the first section of Walden, "Economy", Thoreau explains his ideas of living simply and intentionally. Thoreau relays that it's easier to acquire only life's necessities, that "[m]ost of the luxuries, and lots of the so-called conveniences of life, are not only not vital, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind" (Thoreau Walden 11). He declares that a person is not truly experiencing life if they do not live intentionally. His idea of living deliberately was to concentrate on each part of life; by observing your environment and coping with each instant of life. Thoreau:
". . . above all else attempted to provoke his visitors to believe - to "wake. . . up, " as he input it in the book's epigraph. Life is brief and life is miraculous, Thoreau insists, and it is incumbent on each individual to determine how better to react to the circumstances of the moment" (Baym 1857).
In his exploration of this idea, he expresses that his reason behind living at Walden was to depict what's truly necessary in life, and that he "went to the woods to live on deliberately" (Thoreau Walden 83). Through his test in living in the woods - by detatching pointless extravagance from his life - he found out that the essential basics of humans were food, shelter, gas, and clothing (Thoreau Walden 10). He thought these four procedures were all that were needed, ". . . for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a potential customer of success" (Thoreau Walden 10).
Thoreau theorises that we now have two ways to solve being dissatisfied with one's property. An individual can either acquire more or reduce their wishes. Thoreau notes that his neighbours in Concord take the first option, purchasing the latest styles and luxuries. But he prefers the next resolution, believing that people should possess only what's necessary for us to are in relative comfort. In stating this he advises his audience to also simplify their lives which it will lead to a more happy lifetime. He further clarifies by exclaiming: "Simplicity! Ease! Straightforwardness!" (Thoreau Walden 84).
In "Economy", Thoreau shows his ideas of straightforwardness and self-reliance in the building of his small house in the woods. He begins construction with nothing and slowly acquires materials through borrowing, getting gifts, and some purchasing. On 4th of July 1845, he steps into his dwelling at Walden, liberating himself from the norms of world, ". . . a symbolic activity of personal liberation aligned with the party of national freedom" (Baym 1854).
For the period of Thoreau's Walden test, he keeps a meticulous accounts of most his debits and credits. It is through Thoreau's own "economy" that he ascertains the true necessities to live on a content life.
In the ultimate section, entitled "Conclusion", the build becomes more urgent compared to the peaceful descriptive storytelling of the previous chapters. The text features an increased number of immediate instructions, for example, "Say what you have to say, not what you ought" (Thoreau Walden 304). However, Thoreau's use of "you" in his dictations does not imply superiority over his reader as he generally includes himself, often discussing "us". Although the build is a morally righteous one, it also resonates with an assurance of equality among all people.
In comparison to the first chapter's meandering pace, the last chapter features far more intense, personal addresses to its reader. It really is this change in tempo that highlights the urgency of Thoreau's concluding subject matter - that in reading of his experiences in Walden and of his philosophical ideas, his readers will be influenced to start living their lives in different ways.
In the section "Conclusion", Thoreau also recommends self exploration instead of venturing geographically, deeming it "not worthwhile the while to look across the world to count the cats in Zanzibar" (Thoreau Walden 299). He is convinced that through observing aspect you'll be able to get a more insightful view of one's own heart. He mentions a good example of when doctors suggest an alteration of landscapes for patients. Thoreau feels a change of the spirit may become more beneficial advice. In his encouragement of do it yourself exploration, he emphasises that knowing yourself and what is true, is "more than love, than money, than fame" (Thoreau Walden 307). He expresses disapproval on the heightened consumerism of People in america and urges his reader to value their thoughts over luxuries, "Superfluous wealth can purchase superfluities only" (Thoreau Walden 305).
In writing Walden, Thoreau hoped to inspire his reader to find their own route in life and not to check out the group. He uses his time at Walden as an example, to show the reader what is possible when you establish your mind to something out of the norm, "If a guy does not keep pace along with his companions, perhaps for the reason that he hears another drummer" (Thoreau Walden 303). Thoreau concludes the written text by highlighting his understanding that the common "John or Jonathan" (Thoreau Walden 310) reading Walden might not exactly comprehend his increased text. However, he reassures his reader with his prediction that a new way of life is getting close to.
In the first and final chapters of Walden, Thoreau details his various experiences in starting out in Walden and then what he has learnt from both year task. His descriptive narrative is veined along with his philosophical ideas of adapting a simplistic approach to life.
In an attempt to exist in a simplified manner, Thoreau suggests a reduction of "things in proportion" (Thoreau Walden 84). He felt that in doing this, one maintained control over their life. He learned that through the simplification of a person's experience, they would be open to studying life. However, to carry out this, the reader must learn self-reliance. He shows this by example in his farming of coffee beans, which led to him successfully covering his costs, therefore learning the lesson of counting on himself.
It is with this convenience and self-reliance that Thoreau deeply reputed the flourishing life of the woods at Walden. He greatly liked and worshiped the nature he experienced around him. He describes Walden Pond as the "earth's vision" (Thoreau Walden 173), sense that this encapsulates both earth and air, "It really is intermediate in its mother nature between land and sky" (Thoreau Walden 176). In Walden, Thoreau illustrates the benefits of simplifying one's life and observing dynamics:
"Why don't we first be as easy and well as Dynamics ourselves, dispel the clouds which hangover our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Usually do not stay to be an overseer of the indegent, but endeavour to become one of the worthies of the world" (Thoreau Walden 71).
Therefore, through reading Thoreau's Walden the reader not only gets an information into the individuals deep gratitude for characteristics, but one can also view it for example of getting ready to start his various philosophical ideas. As can be seen throughout the written text, Thoreau is anxious in his encouragement for his audience to take heed of his advice - to live on a life of simpleness in order to get delight and self-fulfilment.