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Thoreau's Walden: Freedom through Transcendentalism - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class May 3, 2012 Thoreau’s Walden: Freedom through Transcendentalism In 1845, Thoreau was twenty-seven years old when he decided to break free from the demands of modern cosmopolitan life. He built a one-room cabin on Emerson’s land in the woods, which was located at the shoreline of Walden Pond, less than two miles from Concord…
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Thoreaus Walden: Freedom through Transcendentalism
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Download file to see previous pages During this time, he used as much of his possible free for thinking and studying. He examined people and nature more than he read books, although he brought several well-selected volumes to his Walden home. In Walden, Thoreau argues that people can reach transcendentalism through nature, which will ultimately produce the most important basic freedoms for human individuals. One of the first important freedoms that Thoreau gained in Walden is freedom from materialism. Living through and with nature can enable people to leave their materialistic lives behind. Thoreau realizes that without the need for material possessions, people can become happier with simpler lives, because a simpler life enables them to have more time to enjoy their time. Thoreau says: “The morning wind forever blows, the poem of creation is uninterrupted; but few are the ears that hear it. Olympus is but the outside of the earth everywhere” (390). Living in Walden opens opportunities for reflection, which are the origins of poetry. It allows people to criticize themselves and the society they live in, which will not be possible when living in a materialistic world. Without self and social criticism, people will learn to live with “lies,” such as the lie of freedom, where freedom is not possible when people are focused on making money to respond to their material needs. In the chapter “Economy,” Thoreau explores the drawbacks of the capitalistic market. He says: “Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them” (327). He stresses that because of capitalism, labor is undervalued, as well as the ability of people to live independent lives. Thoreau shows through this novel that only by having a simple life through nature can people live simply, and living simply is related to living happily. People are happiest, it seems, when they own their labors and since they have no masters, they own their time. Alexander replicates the same life that Thoreau has. He relishes the understanding of Thoreauvian lesson that a person can be “richer than the richest now are” (Thoreau 354) while living in very modest circumstances. For Alexander, this gives him “a calm trust in the future” (Thoreau 450), since he realizes that a “fancy house is not a necessary part of living a happy and meaningful life” (Alexander 141). Like Thoreau, Alexander understands that a simple life is the key to a happy and peaceful life. Thoreau believes that without the demands of modern life, people can be free to develop themselves as individuals. Buckner believes that the most important message of Walden is “to call people to freedom as individuals.” She stresses: “One looks at nature in order to learn about oneself; one simplifies one’s life in order to have time to develop the self fully; one must honor one’s uniqueness if one is to know full self-realization” (Buckner 4). Thoreau recommends to others that they should live simpler lives for them to be happier. A simpler life away from material needs exemplifies the idea of peace. Nature itself is filled with peace, which is the symbol for inner peace of mind. Thoreau cries out for a simplified life: ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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