I have begun to get into the last part of my essay. I am now discussing my personal thoughts on Thoreau and what I have learned. I am happy with my progress and feel that I am in a good place.
I have just started to really get into the meat of my essay. In this meat of my essay I discuss my thoughts and opinions on Thoreau and Walden. I am happy with my progress and have made good strides.
Today I continued to work on my opening paragraph telling a story about my experience at Walden Pond. I should be done with the paragraph by the end of tomorrow night.
Over the past two nights I have started to jump into my first paragraph. In this paragraph I am telling a story about my time at Walden Pond and my experience. I will continue further work on this in the next coming days.
Over the weekend I plotted out how I was going to attack my "Walden" Essay. I listed what I was going to write about in all of my paragraphs, making it clear for myself so that when I am writing, the process goes efficiently and swiftly. This outline will be something that I will refer to when I get stuck in a rut while I am writing. It will provide support for me when I need it and make the writing process more enjoyable and easier.
Fitz English 9th Grade
Walden Literary Analysis #2
“Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month- the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this- or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile,” - Henry David Thoreau.
Is the time we spend in the classroom learning and being lectured by our teachers overrated? In the book "Walden," the author Henry David Thoreau talks about the reasons he believes education is overrated. Moreover, Thoreau uses his education and Cambridge College as an example talking about the things he learned in the classroom and stating how he could have learned those things on his own. Thoreau talks about the reasons he believes education and its high price tag are overrated. He implies that there is significant waste of time and money because of mismanagement by the educational institutions, and that the educational system does a poor job of recognizing what is essential to learning and what is not. “I cannot but think that if we had more true wisdom in these respects, not only less education would be needed, because, forsooth, more would already have been acquired, but the pecuniary expense of getting an education would in a great measure vanish.” Never has this message seemed more applicable than today with costs of education surmounting over $50,000 per year for college students. What was Thoreau starts to point out is that education more than anything has become a business. A business that Thoreau believes is overrated.
9th grade English
Walden Literary Analysis #1
"Why do people work all their lives in pursuit of material possessions rather than acknowledging and appreciating the simpler gifts that life has to offer?"
~Henry David Thoreau.
Is it possible that the problems that were relevant one hundred and sixty years ago are still relevant today? In the book Walden, the author Henry David Thoreau points out the many flaws of society which seem eerily similar to the flaws facing the society that we live in today. More specifically, in chapter one, Economy, Thoreau seeks for answers why people work all their lives in pursuit of obtaining material possessions rather than appreciating simpler gifts that life and nature has to offer. Thoreau frequently makes reference to the fact that most people are enslaved by their lifestyle, whether it be by inheritance of home, farm, property, or wearing fashionable clothing. During his experiment, where he took to the woods on the edge of Walden Pond, Thoreau believed that through living a life of voluntary simplicity he could meet all the expenses required of living "by working about six weeks in one year." “This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it." Can it not be said that these fundamental beliefs are just as relevant today, maybe even more, than they were during Thoreau's time? How many people do we know who seem in an endless hurry, trading time for constant work, to obtain material possessions, never to mindful or present in their everyday lives? Has the technology that was created to improve basic freedoms and advance society actually enslaved us more in a culture obsessed with immediate responses and limited our freedoms? Could it be that Thoreau was actually onto something that would help our current time deal with our problems of poverty, global warming, and greed? One can just imagine if the masses were to adopt his philosophy of working less to contribute more, of appreciating Nature and the beauty of the land, of living simply and limiting our possessions to what we truly need how society would change. Maybe there would be no more wars. Maybe the environment would not be polluted and constantly threatened. Maybe there would be more time to think, to live, to be.
Thoreau is quoted saying, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.”
From this quote it can be inferred that Thoreau's points if view on philanthropy are stern. Too many people are just throwing money at problems with little hope. People must spend time and find the source of the problem in order to end it. Throwing money at problems cannot attack the roots of the problem, it can only temporarily nullify it. Thoreau continues to point this out as he talks about the flaws of philanthropy. Thoreau's feelings are also felt that is man really doing good actions for the good of other people or for the good of themselves, “There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. It is human, it is divine, carrion. If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life." Thoreau's quote opens up a new light to philanthropy, for he believes that many people really commit these actions for the good of other people, but in the meanwhile, also for the good of themselves.
Thoreau's perspective on philanthropy is a different yet very thought out. Over the whole book Walden, Thoreau has made me view many things in life in a different way. All of my preconceived notions that I had were shown in a different light by Thoreau, especially throughout this whole chapter. After reading The Fallacy of Philanthropy I am left asking myself, do people really do good for others or for themselves?
Reflections on Education and Money and Work
Thoreau asserts, “I cannot but think that if we had more true wisdom in these respects, not only less education would be needed, because, forsooth, more would already have been acquired, but the pecuniary expense of getting an education would in a great measure vanish.”
Thoreau continues to talk about how man can learn more from their experiences than they can in any classroom. “Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month- the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this- or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute."
An alumni of Cambridge college, (Harvard now a day) Thoreau continues to bash education, for he has the thought that man can learn more with their hands than their still bodies sitting at a desk. Personally, I love Thoreau's points of view. People do learn best when they are confronted with challenges, though work in the classroom doesn't hurt either.
Thoreau recounts, “I have tried trade; but I found that it would take ten years to get under way in that, and that then I should probably be on my way to the devil."
“In short, I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely; as the pursuits of the simpler nations are still the sports of the more artificial. It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do." But then what is a man supposed to do with his time? If he does not engage in work for the sake of working, or for the love of creating a better world for his sake, and for the sake of his family and community, how does his life gain purpose? It seems to me that work is a vital part of man's experience, of his living his life. I also see the value of appreciating leisure time, playing sports, or immersing oneself in nature, but not to the point that he works only to sustain basic survival. Neither should he sustain basic survival without the pleasure of working. Can there be a healthy balance between the two? It seems that Thoreau does not think so, at least not for himself. I agree with Thoreau's "desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible; but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. The youth may build or plant or sail, only let him not be hindered from doing that which he tells me he would like to do." It strikes me that it seems right that one should not live his life according to the desire to do what others expect if him, or of trying to keep up with others, but should listen to his inner voice of what his passions are. However, without the balance of work and responsibility, passions might lose their appeal over time. It might be similar to eating dessert for every meal. After a few times, the dessert is no longer the treat it once was.
Walden is essentially a science experiment. Thoreau developed the hypothesis that man can live simply with content, without the complexities associated with accumulation of material possessions and consumerism of goods. In the chapter "Experiment," he chronicles his experience in his experiment to be self reliant and live simply by constructing a home on shores of Walden Pond in Concord.
Ironically, in his attempt to simplify, he needs to borrow his axe, the instrument that becomes the catalyst of his experiment. The axe belongs to a neighbor, and although he ultimately returns it, he states, “The owner of the axe, as he released his hold on it, said that it was the apple of his eye; but I returned it sharper than I received it." And, although he returned sharper than when he borrowed it, the fact remains that Thoreau needed to borrow it to begin his experiment of "self reliance." Thus, Thoreau was dependent on others at the onset of his Experiment to survive simply and on his own. For me, this shows the reliance Thoreau had on others to fulfill his dream of being self sufficient. And, if one really needs to depend on others for his experiment is self-reliance, is he really self reliant? I do not really know how to answer this question, and maybe you do not either. It just seems curious to me that he would not consider this an "expense" in his borrowing as he speaks so precisely of the small monetary costs of the supplies to construct his dwelling. “--- In all................................$ 28.12 1/2... These are all the materials, excepting the timber, stones, and sand, which I claimed by squatter's right. I have also a small woodshed adjoining, made chiefly of the stuff which was left after building the house…I intend to build me a house which will surpass any on the main street in Concord in grandeur and luxury, as it pleases me as much and will cost me no more than my present." We're there not other costs, such as the reliance on neighbors, or taking over the land on which he built his home, that he overlooked? While it is amazing he can construct a structure so cheaply, and it is admirable that the he enjoys his dwelling as well as the luxurious homes on Main Street, it also seems that there may have been additional expenditures of time, neighborly help, land, that he may have overlooked in his expense account. And, while he takes most of the credit himself for depending solely upon himself, were there not others who aided him in his attempt to be a man who was self reliant and lived simply with nature?