REFLECTION ON WALDEN—SOLITUDE
“I have heard of a man lost in the woods and dying of famine and exhaustion at the foot of a tree, whose loneliness was relieved by the grotesque visions with which, owing to bodily weakness, his diseased imagination surrounded him, and which he believed to be real. So also, owing to bodily and mental health and strength, we may be continually cheered by a like but more normal and natural society, and come to know that we are never alone. (p.89)”. Thoreau illustrates in “Solitude” his experiment living in isolation at Walden Pond and the opportunity being alone provided for him to disconnect from society and rediscover himself. Thoreau explains that isolation isn’t necessarily negative, rather that isolation can be an actual source of freedom. Freedom comes from the appreciation of peacefulness in being alone, not feeling lonely, and opening the mind for self-reflection. The theme of isolation ties into the freedom Thoreau embraces through solitude as a way to reflect and rediscover our true selves. When Thoreau went to Walden the mid 1840’s, America was in a time of growing and evolving industrialization, technology, and communication—similar to today’s modern society of evolving and growing technologies, etc. Thoreau seems a man ahead of his time by recognizing the need to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives to find solitude for reflection and rediscovery. Walden Pond was the physical place found where Thoreau was given the opportunity to experience isolation inspiring his mental freedom through attaching to nature. Thoreau wasn’t lonely or felt alone as he appreciated finding life balance in solitude allowing him time to do some soul searching, finding a more authentic sense of who he was. The opportunity to find ones true self through taking a step back and examining the world around though isolation or being alone as Thoreau did requires mental...
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