Henry David Thoreau Essays

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(1854); second to this in popularity is his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government” (1849), which was later republished posthumously as “Civil Disobedience” (1866).

His fame largely rests on his role as a literary figure exploring the wilds of the natural world, not as a philosopher.

To counteract this dehumanizing process, Thoreau chose to make his life an example of simple living and his writings fruits of his countercultural lifestyle.

Within this context, he is probably best known for his experiment at Walden Pond. Obtaining approval from Emerson to build a cabin on Emerson’s land, Thoreau built a ten-by-fifteen-foot cabin on the shores of Walden Pond.

Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that.

Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. (Thoreau 6) America’s market society was generating a level of artificiality in life and cultivating a desire for the accumulation of goods.For two years, two months, and two days from July 4, 1845 to September 6, 1847, Thoreau dedicated his life to frugality and writing the only two books published during his lifetime: : “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. He partially withdrew from society, so he could experience life more directly, being able to confront it on its simplest terms.The train explicitly represents great power, technological innovation, the rule of commerce, and cultural progress, but it also carries the connotation of the displacement of animals, the destruction of the natural world, and the pernicious powers of the market.For Thoreau, therefore, “progress” was an ambiguous term; while the majority of Americans could honor this word, Thoreau recognized the constraints of capitalist democracy, and he was concerned about where a market-based culture was going to lead the nation and just how harmful “progress” could be.It was not until years later, around the beginning of the twentieth century, when people started to appreciate Thoreau more, and Houghton Mifflin Co.helped to solidify his reputation in 1906 when the company published his books, essays, and journals, which totaled twenty volumes.While all these play an important role in his texts, Thoreau chose the railroad as an enigmatic presence and force in New England.The railroad was extending across the United States, and its whistle penetrated the recesses of the woods around Concord.Cavell’s engagement associates Thoreau with other philosophers of language, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and J. In the end, this emphasis on a more philosophical Thoreau makes sense. Finally, in Thoreau’s library one could find various philosophical texts: Thomas Brown’s Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts to a close-knit family.Because of Harvard College’s reliance on John Locke’s empirical philosophy, Thoreau extensively examined Locke’s , and he had to study the Scottish Common Sense philosophy of Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart. Within his house were his mother, father, two sisters, and brother.


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