Thoreau 2 Essay Research Paper Why was

Thoreau 2 Essay, Research Paper

Why was Henry David Thoreau such a wonderful writer?

He had many great qualities, but the most important were

his devotion to nature and writing, his desire for

independence, and his experiences he encountered

throughout his life. Henry David Thoreau looked to nature

as the basis of life and writing. He believed that nature is

the reflection of inner spiritual reality. He spent his life in

search of the essentials of reality and of experiences that

would bring him close to these essentials. He lived in a hut

for two years at Walden Pond to rid his body of inessential

things. During Thoreau’s stay, he completed his first book

titled, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack

Rivers(1849). Here, he also filled his journals with materials

for his most famous piece, Walden. After he left the hut,

and after college, he became a literary apprentice by

writing essays and poems and by helping edit the

transcendentalist journal, The Dial. When success did not

come, Thoreau remained dedicated to his program of

“education” through intimacy with nature, and also through

writing that would express this experience. It was his life in

nature that was his great theme. In order for Thoreau to

write so much on nature he had to be familiar with it. His

knowledge of the woods and fields, of the rivers, the

ponds, and swamps, of every plant and animal was

outstanding. Emerson even stated, “His power of

observation seemed to indicate additional senses.”

Thoureau wrote a book titled Walden(1854) in which the

theme of it was the relationship to the order and beauty of

nature in the human mind. This book consists of records of

Thoreau’s stay at Walden Pond. Thoreau’s love and

devotion to nature and his writing was a key to his

excellence in writing. Henry David Thoreau also felt that

individualism was a great necessity to his writing style. In

his piece of literature titled “Civil Disobedience”, he

expressed his belief in the power and the obligation of the

individual to determine right from wrong, independent of

the dictates of society. Thoreau’s friends agreed with his

views, but few practiced it in their own lives as consistently

as he. Thoreau demonstrated his idea of independence in

many ways. He worked for pay intermittently, he made

relationships with many of the towns outcasts, he never

married, he signed off from the First Parish Church rather

than be taxed automatically to support it every year, and he

lived alone in the woods for two years, in seclusion. His

nearest neighbor was at least a mile away. While he was

living independently in the woods, he thought of many new

ideas for his literature. Thoreau even tried to encourage

others to assert their individuality, each in his or her own

way. He also believed that independent, well-considered

actions arose naturally from a questing attitude of mind. He

was first and foremost an explorer, of both the world

around him and the world within him. In his most popular

piece ever, Walden, he stated this: “Be a Columbus to

whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new

channels, not of trade, but of thought,”(Walden, p. 321).

Also, Thoreau’s celebration of solitude was a natural

outgrowth of his commitment to the idea of individual

action. This following idea also brought up a point in

Walden. “The man who goes alone can start today; but he

who travels with another must wait till that other is

ready,”(Walden, pg.72) Many of Thoreau’s ideas of

individualism can be found as major statements in his

writing. Thoreau came to much of his great literature due to

the amount of experiences he had throughout his life. His

major experience was living at Walden Pond for two years

and learning about his own life and about the wonders of

nature. Thoreau even stated himself, “I learned this, at least,

from experience.” Here, he was talking about how he got

all the information for his book Walden totally from

experiences. Although Walden was only moderately

successful in Thoreau’s lifetime, his experiment in the

wilderness did spark interest in young people. The book

inspired people to follow his example and go to a lonely

spot and wonder the world and find their place in it. For

many, Walden served as a touchstone. Thoreau said that

he went to the pond to write a book in memory of his

brother, John, who had died three years earlier. Thoreau

also stated, “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 (Walden p. 90).

At Walden Pond, Thoreau worked on A Week, but he

also became attracted to the Walden Woods and began

making observations in his journal of them. He also began

collecting materials to write lectures. By the time he left

Walden Pond, Thoreau had combined lectures and notes

from his journal to compile into his first draft of his book A

Week. A Week was not very well excepted by the public

though. After the failure of A Week, publishers postponed

the publication of Walden. Eventually, Walden was

published and was moderately successful, and it did make

Thoreau popular. Walden consisted of the journal entries

he had written. It also consisted of things he learned while

he was in the woods. Walden also evolved from a

sometimes shrill justification of Thoreau’s unordinary

lifestyle into a complex account of a spiritual journey.

Thoreau’s experiences were great attributes in his writing.

Henry David Thoreau was a wonderful writer. He had

many excellent qualities, but the best and most important

were his devotion to nature and his writing, his feeling of

individualism, and his experiences that were used to make

his literature more lifelike. He used nature as his main theme

in his writing. He felt that independence would help him be

a better writer. He also experienced many things in order to

make his writing filled with imagery. Thoreau used all these

elements in order to please the reader’s mind with his



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