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Thoreau Essay Research Paper Born in 1817

Thoreau Essay, Research Paper Born in 1817, in Concord, Henry David Thoreau became one of the greatest writers among the American Renaissance. Thoreau based his whole philosophy

Thoreau Essay, Research Paper

Born in 1817, in Concord, Henry David Thoreau became one of the greatest

writers among the American Renaissance. Thoreau based his whole philosophy

on the fact that man needed to get rid of material things in order to be an

individual. An exquisitely educated man, Thoreau went to Harvard, which

placed heavy emphasis on the classics. Thoreau studied a curriculum that

included grammar and composition, mathematics, English, history, and various

philosophies. He also spoke fluently in Italian, French, German, and

Spanish. After his graduation in 1837, Thoreau became a teacher. He and his

brother John, however, closed the school in 1841, for Thoreau knew writing

was his passion. He kept a journal beginning in 1837, and most think he

wrote way before that time. Thoreau s love for writing pushed him to make it

a driving force in his life.

Thoreau was also a big part of the Transcendentalist s Movement. The

Transcendentalists assumed that the soul and nature were the two essential

parts of the universe. “Transcendentalism started as a radical religious

movement, opposed to the rationalist, conservative institution that

Unitarianism had become.” Unitarians had expressed the need for and

conviction of a more personal and intuitive experience of the divine.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companion, perhaps it is because he

hears a different drummer.” Individuality was a big part of Thoreau s life;

he believed that independent, well-thought action arose naturally from a

curious mind. Although many people visited him at Walden Pond, Thoreau

preferred to be alone. “I never found the companion that was so

companionable as solitude.” Thoreau liked solitude, a time when he wrote

from his soul and was truly alone. Thoreau s love for nature was one of the

most powerful aspects evident in Walden. Considered by some to be the father

of the environmental movement, Thoreau referred back to nature in everything

he wrote from essays to political speeches.

As a simple man, Thoreau did not own many material things. For he believed

that to own material objects were an obstacle, rather than an advantage. He

saw that most people measured self-worth in terms of what they owned, rather

than their spiritual and intellectual gifts. Thoreau proposed to live as

simply as possible and determine what he needed for basic human survival.

“My greatest skill is to want but little.” He grew his own food, cleaned his

own cabin, and often arranged his affairs so he had to work as little as

possible.

Published on August 9, 1854, Walden sold two thousand copies. For one

dollar, people read into the depths of Thoreau s life at Walden Pond and all

his views on everything from the anti-slavery movement to his environmental

ideas. Walden sold moderately well during Thoreau s lifetime, but his

greatest respects came posthumously.

Through the reading of Walden, many people have discovered the magic of

Henry David Thoreau s pen. Just a man from Concord, Massachusetts, he lived

an extraordinary life as a simple man. That, however, was all Thoreau ever

wanted to accomplish, to show people that a person could be an individual,

live simple, and do without material things. With the publication of Walden,

Thoreau showed the world that it was indeed possible; he had lived “to the

beat of his own drummer.”

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