The Beliefs Of Life And Romanticism In Walden, By Henry David Thoreau

Great Essays
Henry David Thoreau wrote in a time of change and ages past. Every era is opposed to the ones preceding and succeeding itself, but the Romantics were truly a group who hearkened to an old tune; one of integrated civilization and nature in medieval times. When he wrote Walden, Thoreau wrote about his own experiences in the natural world and how it changed him. In his writing, Thoreau explains why one should live deliberately. He actively argues to convince the reader to do so. Even today, Thoreau’s words still hold up, convincing more people every year that life has to be well lived, not just well supplied with expensive clothes and technology to entertain you, but valued for its worth as the dearest thing owned. In the end, only one thing can …show more content…
This essay will concern how Thoreau believes one should live, and what is stopping us from living this way.
Thoreau did not write Walden as a masterpiece of Romantic literature. He wrote to document his findings of life as it should be lived. This makes it a romantic masterpiece because Thoreau did not write this for the purpose of explaining to others, but instead to explain himself and to explain life. Enlightenment masterpieces like Candide lay out the rules of life and nature and how one should be. Thoreau says “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” (74). This is a popular passage because it reveals such reasoning behind his rambling, poetic journal. Thoreau’s point is that “to live deliberately” is not necessarily to go to the woods. His phrasing requires emphasis: I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. He seems to ask, “Where would you go? What would you do?” He writes specifically to say such things on page 58 of Walden; “I would not anyone adopt my mode of living on any account.”
…show more content…
Some people notice that their lives are more than a chain of actions and reactions, “but only one in a hundred million” (73) can understand that life is not complicated, it’s really simple. Thoreau decides to live life better. This doesn’t require the business and bustle everyone else has grown accustomed to, in fact Thoreau doesn’t even want any of the fancier things in life; a huge house, the most delicious delicacies, or anything of that rich nature. But that doesn’t prohibit others from not following his example, in fact he would rather they pursue this, if it is a better life for them. He says, “If there is any to whom it is no interruption to acquire [expensive things], and who know how to use them when acquired, I relinquish them to the pursuit.” Today, like yesterday, like yesteryear, and like three hundred years ago, we are busy. People have lifespans of about eighty years, with working lifespans of about forty five years. How many things can one person get done in less than half a century? Thoreau believes in the life of the ancients. He is delighted at how, when he began to live in his cabin, “both time and place had changed, and I dwelt nearer to those parts of the universe and to those eras in history which had most attracted me”(71). He likes living alone or near to such, in order to live

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Henry Thoreau suggests living deliberately connected to nature encourages humans to live deeper and richer lives. Thoreau thoroughly represents this when he states, “I went to the woods because I wish to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I cannot learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (Walden 73). Thoreau is saying he wanted to learn what nature had to teach him and when it came time for him to die he would have experienced a fulfilling live without regrets. He also addresses the idea that simplifying life and focusing on the bare necessities creates a fulfilling and richer life. Henry Thoreau continues, “I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.…

    • 1622 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Emerson would perhaps argue that there is something in nature (and nature alone) that could help persons understand themselves and to hone their character and individuality. Hawthorne is perhaps aware of this and seems to mock this inspiration when he says, “All these antique naturalists stood in advance of their centuries, yet were imbued with some of their credulity…” (652). The story takes place mostly within Aylmer’s lab, far away from nature. Thus, in rejecting Emerson’s ideas about finding self-reliance in nature, perhaps, this helps to explain Hawthorne’s decision in writing “The Birth-Mark” within a very “narrow” and myopic setting, giving it an almost claustrophobic and suffocating mood. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” can be viewed as a response, and even critique, to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ideas about self-reliance, which Hawthorne accomplishes through the voice of his two main characters and through his use of setting within the story.…

    • 1074 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    The action that he takes to convey his lesson is when he roams the woods and finds himself. Thoreau’s thoughts while in the woods were, “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. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live sturdily and Spartanlike…” (Thoreau 383). The result of his action was learning how to live simply and trying it on his own.…

    • 1353 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Walden, Thoreau wrote, “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.” He talks, like Marina, about not living with any excess, and only doing the things that meant something and made his life profound. They both stress the idea that when their time to go came, they would like to make sure they paid attention to the “essential facts of life,” which as put by Marina, love is one, and not be afraid to die because of not having had a satisfactory and truly meaningful…

    • 1042 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Self reliance is another big premise in Thoreau’s writing for transcendentalism and has almost the same amount of relevance in the writing as the other premise nature and god. ”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…

    • 924 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    During the Transcendentalist movement, self reliance is shown in Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, and Self Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In Walden and Self Reliance, both texts say do what you believe and rely on yourself. In these Transcendentalism stories both say that oneself should do the work themselves, do what you love, and do not follow society. By embarking his journey near home, Emerson can show how civilization is achievable for anyone. Emerson also lives with nature and God, and he does not live for the past or the future, nor does he compare himself to others, he only relies on his own thoughts and beliefs.…

    • 1044 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Whitman responded to Emerson’s call for American poets who would reject tradition and embrace the transcendentalist movement with their poetry. We see many of the same themes of nature and individualism in his poetry that we have read about in the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. In One’s-Self I Sing Whitman writes about the, “simple separate person” (1329) who still has to deal with living by the laws of the land. I felt this poem was an optimistic call for mankind to believe in itself, and not to judge a book by its cover because that distracts from the whole of an individual. While we live in an exciting new time, we still have to obey the laws, even if that means pushing them to their limits.…

    • 2049 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Krakauer illustrates a sense of adventure and unpredictability. Under many governing figures in his life, McCandless wanted an escape from reality and didn’t want to be told how to do things, and just resorted to “living in the moment”. Krakauer discourages society of its unuse of ignorance of its surrounding resources, explaining that the key to a better life lay not in the grasps of…

    • 1058 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson in an attempt to discourage conformity in favor of individualism. This essay states: “The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried” (Emerson, Self-Reliance). In other words, one should test their abilities and their convictions before they let anyone, even themselves, discourage them in that pursuit. Being that what you will accomplish through the effort will always far outweigh what you knew or had accomplished beforehand. Furthermore, this belief is shown in the novel.…

    • 1160 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In Jon Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild, Chris McCandless displays the transcendentalist principal of nonconformity by not going along with what society wants, and by eventually living life away from society. To be a nonconformist is to ignore what everyone else is doing and do what it is that you truly want to do. Thoreau, a famous transcendentalist, once said, “I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life” (Thoreau, “Where I lived and What I lived for” 253). He wanted to get away from society and all the shams and lies it presented. He only wanted the most basic facts, away from luxuries and back to the bare necessities.…

    • 914 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays