The Value Of Life In Henry David Thoreau's Walden

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In Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Thoreau consistently emphasizes the value of a transcendent life. The transcendent life as described by Thoreau, is a life that is lived with purpose, individuality, simplicity and one that is connected with the beauty of nature. Given this, it is reasonable to conclude that if Thoreau were alive today he would be dissatisfied with how conformist, institutionalized, and materialistic society has become.
Thoreau believed that it was critically important to live life in such a way that one would find fulfillment and purpose as a unique individual instead of conforming to established societal norms. Thoreau sought to introduce such a transcendental principle into his own life by buying a house on the edge of the Walden Pond, a location surrounded by the woods. There he would spend significant time living, writing, and thinking. In the
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Yet, it seems that in today’s society, much like Thoreau’s, following one’s dreams is an ideal that is often spoken about, but rarely followed. The issues that concerned Thoreau regarding individuals following societies norms of life, instead of striking out on their own, seem to have persisted. Many people find themselves in a career, location, or lifestyle, because they stumbled upon it by accident, rather than making a conscientious and purposeful decision about the way one wants to live their life. Many people still experience the all too human emotion of not wanting to be left behind, feeling like an outsider, or of being scared of the unknown. Such fears often result in people treading a beaten path and following societies norms. Just like in his day, Thoreau would categorize such conforming as merely surviving life, rather than truly living it. Such conformers, according to Thoreau, are unable to find significance in their life which leads to an unhappy

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