Body Awareness in Thoreau´S Walden

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Concord, Massachusetts Pages: 14 (5299 words) Published: May 2, 2007
2.1 Thoreau´s search for the inner soul
2.1.1 The three identities and their expressions
2.1.2 Being different
2.2 Progress
2.2.1 The Railroad
2.2.2 Being awake
3 Identity Work today
3.1 Miethling
3.1.1 "Getreue Rebellen"
3.1.2 Patchwork Identity
3.1.3 "Körperliche Suchbewegungen"
3.2 Bette
3.2.1 Body and Power
3.2.2 Body as a rescue point
4 Applying
4.1 Miethling and Thoreau
4.1.1 Thoreau, the "getreue Rebell"
4.1.2 Thoreau´s patchwork identity
4.1.3 Thoreau´s "körperliche Suchbewegung"
4.2 Bette and Thoreau
4.2.1 Thoreau´s body power
4.2.2 Thoreau´s way to his rescue point
5 Conclusion
6 References

In this paper I will deal with Henry David Thoreau's book Walden and compare it to certain contemporary writers that are concerned with body awareness. Thoreau makes some notes about his body awareness. These notes are fairly rare, but striking. I will start out with a short description of Walden, its content and intention. I will then try to track down Thoreau's identity work while staying at Walden and will therefore focus on his identities appearing in the book and a quote he gave on being different. The second part of the first chapter is concerned with Thoreau's opinion on progress. I will concentrate on the railroad and his idea of being awake. This is not meant literally, but spiritually. In the second chapter I will deal with two sport sociologists, who have written about body awareness of teenagers and in how far it is important in finding one's identity. The first one is Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Miethling, whose major work concentrates on children's behaviour in physical education classes. The essay I take into account here is concerned with misbehaviour and reasons for it. The second author is Dr. Karl-Heinrich Bette. He gives attention to the importance of the body in our society. In his book Körperspuren there are many different aspects of paradoxical body awareness in our culture. I will focus on the aspects of body and power and on the body as a rescue or fixpoint in today's society. In the last part I will compare the conclusions I drew from Walden about Thoreau with what Miethling and Bette have said about body awareness. I will concentrate on each author at a time and find out about similarities.

Walden is a unique book. It is neither a poem nor a novel nor any other genre. It is not even a critical discourse about social matters. It is all of it and nothing of it. It is made up of twenty-eight different chapters each one dealing with a different aspect of Thoreau's time at Walden Pond. Thoreau spent two years and two month in a hut at Walden Pond, an area near Concord, Massachusetts. His experiences and philosophical ideas are captured in Walden. What is said to have given him the idea to leave society for two years is the essay "Self- Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is about his transcendental ideas and offers the philosophical ideas that Thoreau puts into practise while staying at Walden Pond. Emerson is also Thoreau's teacher and role model and the land that Thoreau builds his hut on belongs to Emerson, as well. (cf. The Heath Anthology of American Literature 2002: 1670) Walden offers insight into many areas of Thoreau's daily life. The first chapters are more concerned with his motives and intentions and what is needed for the stay. The rest of the book is more concerned with philosophical matters. It follows the seasons, like they happen at Walden Pond and Thoreau experiences spiritual death during winter and rebirth in spring. The main intention of his stay is to live a simplified life and through this finding his inner soul. 2.1 Thoreau's search for the inner soul

Since Thoreau is a child of his age, he is in search of himself. The American Romanticism was marked by an agitation of thought. The self was important and so one had to find out what this...

References: Bette, Karl- H. 1989. Körperspuren. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter
Lauter, Paul, ed. 2002. The Heath Anthology of American Literature volume 1. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Legenbauer, Tanja & Vocks, Silija. 2005. Wer schön sein will muss leiden? Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Miethling, Wolff-D. 1993. „Unterrichtsstörungen" Materialien zum Seminar Disziplin im Sportunterricht 14-16.
Thoreau, Henry- D. Walden
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