Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

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The book Walden; or, life in the woods by Henry David Thoreau presents the theme of the discovery of the essentials of life in human beings by living in simplicity and as part of nature. The book relates to my life in the past, present and future life as it helps me realize and learn the necessity of living a simple life, free of complications and to connect to nature for a spiritual rebirth. Also, it teaches me that nature helps one reflect on the human emotions by exploring on the interior of oneself. However, it does not teach well on self-reliance. Through the many lessons the book teaches me, some I agree with but some I am not convinced while some of my views and opinions about life being strengthened, changed and challenged.

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Throughout his first chapter, Economy Thoreau talks about how he went to the woods to find what is truly necessary for his life. He also says that he went into the woods to live deliberately so he choose to live in the woods out of his own will. By living an economic life in the woods, he discovers the necessities of a fulfilled life. I agree with the concept as it convinces me that simplicity in life is the key to a happy life. He says one would be happy in an almshouse as the same afternoon sun shines through the window as it does in a rich mans house. The text shows me that we should use civilization as a blessing and not for making us slaves of ourselves by working hard (Thoreau, 1882). However when he talks of poor immortal souls for they are made serfs of the soil? I disagree as I am of the opinion that work is important as it generates a livelihood (Thoreau, 1882). Generally, Simplicity in life encouraged and agreed with my opinion on living a life free of luxury.

In his second Chapter shelter he teaches me that mankind was slumbering in the luxury of a house other than the warmth and affections of the family living in the house. By using the word slumbering he was referring to the way people were living in a routine without considering the meaning of existence. Hence, he urges us to seek a spiritual awakening by not dwelling on acquiring property. By awakening he says one is able to experience nature at its best as without worry for he says for the earthly greatness-all and heavenly comforts rarefies to air (Thoreau, 1882). By using the metaphor awakening he is able to show that the greatest spiritual awakenings, especially in the hardships result in self-awareness. However, when Thoreau takes to the wood dreaming of an existence free of obligations and full of leisure, he goes contrary to my views on obligations and leisure. I believe that leisure should come after fulfilling obligations.

The environment or nature is a topic that I advocate for and is well talked about in the book. Protection of the environment or nature is an important thing in my community as a whole. The text focuses on the environment and how he enjoys being part of it. He demonstrates how a man can live in the midst of nature. He says that at in the primitive ages there was an advantage the left a sojourner in nature (Thoreau, 1882). Additionally, I love that Thoreau agrees with me that industrial progress had a negative impact on the environment. The impact is well illustrated in Walden when the locomotive could pass daily by the pond, whistling and rumbling which contrasts with the natural sounds of nature and of the birds (Thoreau, 1882). He says that such progress ruins the purity by polluting and destroying which is true even in todays life.

In conclusion, the text is educative and advocates for various issues that are important in the life of a human being. It gives recommendations on how to live a life of simplicity, interact with nature, deal with the civilized world and finally discover oneself. The advice in the text prompts one to want to get more from Thoreau. Also, makes one recommend it to others especially people who would like a life of simplicity or those who like exploring nature for discovery. They would want to acquire some facts about life and nature by reading the text and experiencing them through the life of Author.


Thoreau, H. D. (1882). Walden. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.39007

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