Walden

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Nathan Leslie
History 1700
Monday 7:00 PM

Walden (1854)
By: Henry David Thoreau

I have always been a fan of Henry Thoreau; my house is littered of quotes of his that I like to think I live my life by. One of my favorites is very apparent in this entry from Walden, a book that I have read many times, “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest”. Thoreau’s two years that he spent at Walden Pond are rooted in this sentiment, and I couldn’t agree more. Thoreau starts off by explaining his two-year project at Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts. He says he lived there for two years and two months, and then moved back to “civilized society” but only as an experiment in living. He believed that everyone should be able to live on their own, in nature, surviving off of only what they absolutely needed to survive. However, he also thinks that this shouldn’t be permanent, and this makes me think he did crave the human element of the society that he had so many ill feelings toward. Thoreau’s explanation of his experiment was to illustrate the benefits of a simplified lifestyle. His main goal with having other people read Walden seems to be to influence people to try to live, or at least give real thought too, a modest lifestyle. He argues that excess possessions not only require excess labor to purchase them, but also hints to the classic line from a favorite movie of mine, Fight Club “The things you own end up owning you”. People work hard to buy material things, then worry about them when they are not home, buy insurance to protect them, basically cause more stress than is necessary. I can see this, I have worked hard to build my DVD collection, and there are some movies in my library that I have never even watched. Maybe Thoreau was onto something… Thoreau breaks down only four necessities: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. Nature has provided us in some way all of these things, some we need extra tools to form into something that we can...
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