Thoreau Essay

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Markus Mayer
CP American Lit
Walden
Walden, by Henry David Thoreau is written in first person about the events and ideas that came to the author during his time living at Walden Pond in the eighteen hundreds. Henry David Thoreau was a poet and a philosopher who lived a life of simplicity in order to make a direct connection between people, God, and nature. He viewed knowledge as an "intuitive force rather than a set of learned, logical proofs." His writing in Walden focused on many different themes, including the relationship between light and dark, the ideas and importance of nature, the meaning of progress, the importance of detail, and the relationship between the mind and body. He also developed many philosophical ideas concerning knowing yourself, living simply and deliberately, and seeking truth. In the first section of Walden entitled "Economy," Thoreau develops his ideas of living simply and deliberately. He believed that "it is best to want less," and that "there is no point of living if it is not deliberate." By living deliberately he meant giving each part of life attention, whather in observing humans or nature, and living during "all moments of life." He believed that humans had only four basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. The object of each of these necessities is to "conserve an individuals energy." He also believed that "gluttony is bad," and so we should "only content ourselves with possessions that we need." Thoreau focused on living deliberately, and stated "to settle, and to feel reality in its fullness, is the point." Many of the next sections of Walden focused on the relationship between the mind and body. In the section "Solitude," he explained that "sensations exist within our mind even when our body senses them." Thoreau felt that physical closeness does not translate into mental closeness, or vice-versa. He claims that "it is not the physical possession of the physical acts that caused one to take possession of a...
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