Henry David Thoreau Essay Research Paper He
Henry David Thoreau Essay, Research Paper
Henry David Thoreau Essay Research Paper He Essay Example
He spent his life in voluntary poorness, enthralled by the survey
of nature. Two old ages, in the prime of his life, were spent life in a
hovel in the forests near a pool. Who would take a life like this?
Henry David Thoreau did, and he enjoyed it. Who was Henry David Thoreau,
what did he make, and what did others believe of his work?
Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July
12, 1817 ( “ Thoreau ” 96 ) , on his grandma & # 8217 ; s farm. Thoreau, who was of
French-Huguenot and Scottish-Quaker lineage, was baptized as David Henry
Thoreau, but at the age of 20 he lawfully changed his name to Henry
David. Thoreau was raised with his older sister Helen, older brother
John, and younger sister Sophia ( Derleth 1 ) in genteel poorness ( The 1995
Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1 ) . It rapidly became apparent that
Thoreau was interested in literature and authorship. At a immature age he began
to demo involvement authorship, and he wrote his first essay, “ The Seasons, ” at
the stamp age of 10s, while go toing Concord Academy ( Derleth 4 ) .
In 1833, at the age of 16, Henry David was accepted to
Harvard University, but his parents could non afford the cost of tuition
so his sister, Helen, who had begun to learn, and his aunts offered to
aid. With the aid of his household and the beneficiary financess of
Harvard he went to Cambridge in August 1833 and entered Harvard on
September foremost. “ He [ Thoreau ] stood close to the top of his category, but
he went his ain manner excessively much to make the top ” ( 5 ) .
In December 1835, Thoreau decided to go forth Harvard and effort to
gain a life by learning, but that merely lasted about a month and a half
( 8 ) . He returned to college in the autumn of 1836 and graduated on August
16, 1837 ( 12 ) . Thoreau & # 8217 ; s old ages at Harvard University gave him one great
gift, an debut to the universe of books.
Upon his return from college, Thoreau & # 8217 ; s household found him to be
less likely to accept sentiments as facts, more argumentative, and
extraordinarily prone to floor people with his ain independent and
unconventional sentiments. During this clip he discovered his secret
desire to be a poet ( Derleth 14 ) , but most of all he wanted to populate with
freedom to believe and move as he wished.
Immediately after graduation from Harvard, Henry David applied
for a teaching place at the public school in Concord and was
recognized. However, he refused to welt kids as penalty. He opted
alternatively to present moral talks. This was looked down upon by the
community, and a commission was asked to reexamine the state of affairs. They
decided that the talks were non ample penalty, so they ordered
Thoreau to welt fractious pupils. With arrant disdain he lined up
six kids after school that twenty-four hours, flogged them, and handed in his
surrender, because he felt that physical penalty should hold no portion
in instruction ( Derleth 15 ) .
In 1837 Henry David began to compose his Journal ( 16 ) . It started
out as a literary notebook, but subsequently developed into a work of art. In
it Thoreau record his ideas and finds about nature ( The 1995
Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1 ) .
Subsequently that same twelvemonth, his sister, Helen, introduced him to Lucy
Jackson Brown, who merely happened to be Ralph Waldo Emerson & # 8217 ; s
sister-in-law. She read his Journal, and seeing many of the same
ideas as Emerson himself had expressed, she told Emerson of Thoreau.
Emerson asked that Thoreau be brought to his place for a meeting, and they
rapidly became friends ( Derleth 18 ) . On April 11, 1838, non long after
their first meeting Thoreau, with Emerson & # 8217 ; s assist, present his first
talk, “ Society ” ( 21 ) .
Ralph Waldo Emerson was likely the individual most prodigious
individual in Henry David Thoreau & # 8217 ; s life. From 1841 to 1843 and once more
between 1847 and 1848 Thoreau lived as a member of Emerson & # 8217 ; s family,
and during this clip he came to cognize Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and
many other members of the “ Nonnatural Baseball club ” ( “ Thoreau ” 696 ) .
On August 31, 1839 Henry David and his senior brother, John, left
Concord on a boat trip down the Concord River, onto the Middlesex Canal,
into the Merrimack River and into the province of
New Hampshire. Out of this trip came Thoreau & # 8217 ; s first book, A Week on the
Concord and Merrimack Rivers ( 25 ) .
Early on in 1841, John Thoreau, Henry & # 8217 ; s beloved older brother,
became really badly, most likely with TB, and in early May a hapless
and overwrought Henry David moved into the upstairs of Ralph Waldo
Emerson & # 8217 ; s house ( 35 ) . On March 11, 1842 John died, and Henry & # 8217 ; s life long
friend and comrade was gone ( 40 ) .
In early 1845 Thoreau decided to do a visit to nearby Walden
Pond, where Emerson had late purchased a secret plan of land. He built a
little cabin overlooking the pool, and from July 4, 1845 to September 6,
1847 Thoreau lived at Walden Pond ( “ Thoreau ” 697 ) . When asked why he
went to populate at Walden Pond Thoreau replied:
I went to the forests because I wished to populate
intentionally, to look merely the indispensable facts of life,
and see if I could non larn what it had to learn, and non, when I came
to decease, detect that I had non lived. I did non wish to populate what was
non life, life is beloved, nor did I wish to
pattern surrender, unless it was rather necessary. I
wanted to populate deep and suck out all the marrow of life & # 8230 ; ( Thoreau
75- 76 ) .
One dark in July 1846, during his stay at Walden, Thoreau was
walking into Concord from the pool when he was accosted by Sam Staples,
the Concord prison guard, and charged with non holding paid his canvass revenue enhancement.
Thoreau had non paid a canvass revenue enhancement since 1843 when his friend Bronson Alcott
spent a dark in gaol for non paying his. He didn & # 8217 ; t see why he should
hold to pay the revenue enhancement, he had ne’er voted, and he knew that such a strictly
political revenue enhancement had to be affiliated with the support of the Mexican War
and the subsistence of bondage, both of which he strongly objected to
( Derleth 66 ) . The undermentioned forenoon Thoreau was released because
person, likely his Aunt Maria Thoreau, had paid his dorsum revenue enhancements ( 68 ) .
This imprisonment compelled Thoreau to compose “ Civil Disobedience, ” one of
his most celebrated essays.
On May 6,1862 ( “ Thoreau ” 697 ) , after an futile journey to
Gopher state in 1861 in hunt of better wellness, Henry David Thoreau died of
TB. Thoreau was buried in Sleep Hollow Cemetery in Concord
near his friends Ralph Waldo Emer
boy, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Bronson
Alcott ( The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 2 ) .
Thoreau ne’er earned a support by composing, but his plants make full
20 volumes. His first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack
Rivers, was a immense failure selling merely 219 of the original 1,000 transcripts
( “ Thoreau ” 697 ) , but his philosophy of inactive opposition impacted many
powerful people such as Mahatma Gahndi and Martin Luther King, Jr. ( The
1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1 ) . Thoreau & # 8217 ; s try, “ Civil
Disobedience, ” accentuated personal moralss and duty. It urged
the person to follow the dictates of scruples in any struggle
between itself and civil jurisprudence, and to go against unfair Torahs to raise their
Throughout his life, Thoreau protested against bondage by
lecture, by abetting at large slaves in their abscondment to freedom in
Canada, and by externally supporting John Brown when he made his hapless
onslaught on Harpers Ferry in 1859 ( 2 ) .
Walden is conceivably Thoreau & # 8217 ; s most celebrated work, nevertheless, for
about a century after it & # 8217 ; s publication it was considered to be merely a
aggregation of nature essays, as societal unfavorable judgment, or as a actual
autobiography. Walden is now looked upon as a created work of art
( “ Thoreau ” 697 ) .
In Walden Thoreau expresses his sentiments on changing topics
such as, the attitudes of society, age, and work. Thoreau felt that
society had no right to judge people on the footing of their visual aspect:
No adult male of all time stood the lower in my appraisal for holding a
spot in his apparels ; yet I am certain that there is greater
anxiousness, normally, to hold stylish, of at
least clean and unpatched apparels, than to hold a sound scruples
( Thoreau 27 ) .
Thoreau believed in relaxation and simpleness, and he said: “ As for work,
we haven & # 8217 ; t any of any effect ” ( 78 ) . Thoreau besides believed that
older people should non state younger people how to populate because:
Age is no better, barely so good, qualified for an
teacher as young person, for it has non profited so much as it
has lost. One may about doubt if the wisest adult male has learned
anything of absolute value by life ( 16 ) .
Walden is filled with irony, unfavorable judgment, and observations of
nature, life, and society, and is written in a really alone manner. Walden
has been described as an luxuriant system of round imagination which
centres on Walden Pond as a symbol of Eden, the ideal of flawlessness
that should be striven for ( “ Thoreau ” 697 ) .
Thoreau has been called America & # 8217 ; s greatest prose stylist,
naturalist, innovator ecologist, environmentalist, airy, and humanist
( The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 2 ) . It has besides been said that
Thoreau & # 8217 ; s manner shows an unconscious, but really pointed grade of
Emerson & # 8217 ; s influence. However, there is frequently a discourtesy, and an
unartistic sloppiness in Thoreau & # 8217 ; s manner that is non at all like the
manner of Emerson.
Thoreau possessed an astonishing strong suit for showing his many
observations in graphic colour:
No 1 has of all time excelled him in the field of minute
description. His acute powers of observation, his ability to
maintain for a long clip his attending upon one thing,
and his love of nature and of purdah, all lend a distinguishable individualism
to his manner ( Pattee 226 ) .
Thoreau & # 8217 ; s good friend Bronson Alcott described his manner as:
More crude and Homeric than any American, his manner
of thought was robust, racy, as if Nature herself had
built his sentences and seasoned the sense of his
paragraphs with his ain energy and salubriousness. Nothing can be spared from
them ; there is nil otiose ; all is compact, concrete,
as nature is ( Alcott 16 ) .
Most of Thoreau & # 8217 ; s Hagiographas had to make with Nature which caused him
to have both positive and negative unfavorable judgment. Paul Elmer More said
that Thoreau was: “ The greatest by far of our authors on Nature and the
Godhead of a new sentiment in literature, ” but he so does a complete
bend around to state:
Much of his [ Thoreau ‘s ] authorship, possibly the greater
portion, is the mere record of observation and categorization,
and has non the slightest claim on our recollection, & # 8212 ;
unless, so, it posses some scientific value, which I doubt ( More
860 ) .
Thoreau was ever really blunt in everything he said.
Examples of this can be found throughout Walden, one of which being his
statement in chapter two: “ To a philosopher all intelligence, as it is called,
is chitchat, and they who edit and read it are old adult females over their tea ”
( Thoreau 79 ) . There is surely no substitute sentiment, nor simulation of
fear of benevolence in Walden ( Briggs 445 ) .
Thoreau was a philosopher of individuality, who placed nature
above philistinism in private life, and moralss above conformance in
political relations ( The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1 ) . His life was
marked by capricious Acts of the Apostless and unusual bases on public issues ( “ Thoreau ”
697 ) . These curious beliefs led to a batch of unfavorable judgment of Thoreau and
his work. James Russell Lowell complained the Thoreau exalted the
restraints of his ain temperaments and insisted upon accepting his
defects and infirmities as virtuousnesss and powers. Lowell considered: “ a
great trade of the modern sentimentalism about Nature & # 8230 ; a grade of disease ”
( Wagenknecht 2 ) .
In some ways Walden is deceiving. It consists of 18 essays
in which Thoreau condenses his 26 month stay at Walden Pond into
the seasons of a individual twelvemonth. Besides, the thought is expressed in Magill & # 8217 ; s
Survey of American Literature that:
Walden was non a wilderness, nor was Thoreau a innovator ;
his hut was within two stat mis of town, and while at Walden, he
made about day-to-day visits to Concord and to his household, dined
out frequently, had frequent visitants, and went off on jaunts.
Walden is a testament to the regenerating power of nature, to the
demand of regard and saving of the environment, and to the belief
that: “ in abandon is the redemption of the universe ” ( Magill 1949 ) . Walden
is merely an experience recreated in words for the intent of acquiring rid
of the universe and detecting the ego ( “ Thoreau ” 697 ) .
Henry David Thoreau strived for freedom and equality. He was
opinionated and argumentative. He stood up for what he believed in and
was willing to contend for it. His instructions and Hagiographas had an astonishing
impact on people and the universe, and will hold for centuries to come.