AP American Lit.
27 October 2012
Walden - Individual Essay
"I went to the woods to live deliberately. I hoped to learn the truth and not discover when it is time to die that I had never lived at all." (41) Henry David Thoreau, an educated transcendentalist, felt a great distaste for the direction that he saw society heading in. He wanted to get the most from his life by determining what was really important, and he did that by removing himself from the normal life of Concord, Massachusetts in the 1840's. He reduced his material needs by living simply, so that he would not have to spend much time supporting a lifestyle that he did not need or care about. The story that came out of his two year experience is a great essay that touches on the importance of self-reliance, the virtue of simplicity and the unity between man and nature. “Economy”
The first chapter of Walden by Henry David Thoreau, “Economy”, introduces the readers into Thoreau’s rhetorical persona in ways that connect and mend into the overarching themes. Thoreau states that he wrote Walden while he lived alone in the woods in a self-built home on the shore of the Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. He explains his justifications for setting out a life of solitude near Walden Pond using carefully crafted rhetorical devices. He uses parallelism to compare his town people to islanders, or ‘Brahmins’, who were “sitting exposed to four fires and looking in the face of the sun” or “hanging suspended, with their heads downwards, over flames” (Walden, 4). He uses the doings of Brahmins as an equivalent to the things his fellow villagers put themselves through to get by in their society. He also alludes to Hercules to describe his people, “Hercules were trifling in comparison with those which my neighbors have undertaken; for they were only twelve, and had an end.” (17). By comparing the work of Hercules, being intensive yet finite, to the villagers never ending struggle,...