Essay about Henry David Thoreau

4423 Words Oct 10th, 2010 18 Pages
Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian , philosopher andtranscendentalist. Henry David Thoreau was a complex man of many talents who worked hard to shape his craft and his life. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.
Henry's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of
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In 1843 he got Thoreau a job tutoring in Staten Island, N.Y., so that he could be close to the New York City literary market. The idea was a failure, but the fault was not Emerson's. In 1847 he invited Thoreau to stay with his family again while Emerson himself went to Europe. Emerson took a paternal and at times patronizing interest in Thoreau, advising the young man and introducing him to a circle of local writers and thinkers, including Ellery Channing, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne and his son Julian Hawthorne, who was a boy at the time.
The best analysis of Thoreau's character was Emerson's funeral elegy for him. Emerson was well aware of Thoreau's devotion to his principles and said that he "had a perfect probity." Emerson also realized, perhaps better than anyone else, that Thoreau gave an edge to his probity by his willingness to say no, to dispute, to deny. Thoreau was a born protestant: that was Emerson's way of putting it. He went on to observe that Thoreau had "interrogated every custom, and wished to settle all his practice on an ideal foundation."
Emerson characterized Thoreau as a hermit and stoic but added that he had a softer side which showed especially when he was with young people he liked. Furthermore, Thoreau was resourceful and ingenious; he had to be, to live the life he wanted. He was patient

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