Walden: a Rhetorical Analysis

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Walden: Rhetorical Analysis

In Thoreau’s book Walden, he makes critical observations about society, and gives his solutions for the problems that he sees in the world that he lives in. He uses vivid analogies, anecdotes, and imagery to form a picture of what his life looks like from his point of view, in the minds of his readers. Thoreau’s book is a plea to society to stop and smell the roses, and stop doing things out of habit, or just because it’s what is socially acceptable. He urges people to live their lives deliberately by sharing stories of his personal experiences.

Thoreau starts Walden with a reoccurring theme of simplicity. On page 91 he states the idea that “Our life is frittered away by detail.” He believes that men spend so much time working towards more of what they already have, and how they have to push away what is really important to make room for what is useless; when in the true beauty of life isn’t hidden in the clutter, but lies right before our eyes in the simplicity of it all. With fewer possessions we have room for the real treasures, like thought and reflection. He lays out the blueprints for his readers on how he created his extremely simplified life. He tells of his small cabin that he built in the woods by himself, and how he became completely self-sufficient. Thoreau takes time to really point out how easy it would be for those that wanted to follow in his footsteps, in hopes that some actually would. Thoreau also employs logos by demonstrating his vast understanding of economy in recording all of his earnings and expenditures, just to make certain that the reader knows that this simple lifestyle hindered him in no way whatsoever. He creates the idea that a simple life allows a man to live deliberately, pay attention to detail, and waste nothing.

Throughout his book Thoreau points out the importance of living a deliberate life. He states that he “went to the woods because [he] wished to live deliberately,...
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