The Romantic Point of View in Walden, Life in the Woods Essay
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In my opinion, Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau is an excellent example of a Romantic point of view. Thoreau successfully conveys his Romantic ideas through his literature, and makes clear where he stands. When one reads Walden carefully, one can find many of the characteristics of Romanticism in it. In from Where I Lived and What I Lived For the idea that Thoreau shuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled nature is evident in that he seeks to live alone in the woods. As he puts it,
“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…show more content…
Also in from Where I Lived and What I Lived For one can find how Thoreau shows his appreciation for the wisdom of the past and a dislike for progress. In his last couple phrases he describes the railroads, which can be seen as a symbol for technology or advancement, these he talks about with great antipathy as he implies that no outward improvement will bring the inner peace and contentment that men seek. He suggests that the freedom that railroads are thought to represent truly bring about a type of servitude in the respect that one must conform to the train’s schedules and routes. In conclusion he states, “We do not ride the railroad, it rides upon us.” In almost all of his writings Thoreau uses Greek and mythological allusions which demonstrate his inspiration from the myth, legend, and folklore genre. He makes several allusions to the battle that took place in Troy. “…..He was there to represent spectatordom, and help make this seemingly insignificant event one with the removal of the gods of Troy.” In addition, he makes references to the characters who participated in it, “…Many a lusty west-carving Hector…..” I believe that one way in which Thoreau displays his preference for youthful innocence rather than educated sophistication in from Brute Neighbors is in the way he described the Battle of Concord using ants. He cleverly describes the scene, the emotions, and the thrill.
“It was evident that their battle cry was ‘Conquer
Walden, in fullWalden; or, Life in the Woods, series of 18 essays by Henry David Thoreau, published in 1854. An important contribution to New EnglandTranscendentalism, the book was a record of Thoreau’s experiment in simple living on the northern shore of Walden Pond in eastern Massachusetts (1845–47). Walden is viewed not only as a philosophical treatise on labour, leisure, self-reliance, and individualism but also as an influential piece of nature writing. It is considered Thoreau’s masterwork.
Walden is the product of a two-year period when Thoreau lived in semi-isolation by Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. He built himself a little cabin and was almost totally self-sufficient, growing his own vegetables and doing the odd job or two. It was his intention at Walden Pond to live simply, to have time to contemplate, walk in the woods, write, and commune with nature. As he explains, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” The resulting book is a series of essays, or meditations, with titles such as “Economy,” “Sounds,” “Solitude,” “Visitors,” “Higher Laws,” “Brute Neighbours,” “Winter Animals,” and “Spring.” Thoreau’s style can at times be ponderous, but it is well worth the effort for the pearls of wisdom contained therein, which are often quoted: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes,” and “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”
Relatively neglected during Thoreau’s lifetime, Walden achieved tremendous popularity in the 20th century. Thoreau’s description of the physical act of living day by day at Walden Pond gave the book authority, while his command of an elegant style helped raise the work to the level of a literary classic. For readers concerned about the advent of a fast-paced, quick-fix society marked by excess, materialism, and superficiality, Walden’s message will perhaps seem more relevant and necessary now than when it appeared more than a century and half ago.