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David Thoreaus Walden - Term Paper Example

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The writer of this paper analyzes David Thoreau’s Walden, which is a novel published in 1854. It is considered one of the great books of American literature and a masterpiece in the realm of reflective philosophy. The book details Thoreau's stay in a cabin near Walden Pond…
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David Thoreaus Walden
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Download file to see previous pages The book emphasizes the importance of solitude, self-reliance, contemplation, and most importance closeness to nature in transcending what he calls our "desperate" existence. The book combines autobiography with a critical commentary on the contemporary Western culture that is materialistic and which has distanced itself from nature.
The book was inspired by American Transcendentalism, a philosophy developed by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau's friend, and spiritual mentor. According to Ralph Emerson (1837), there are three basic stages of a transcendentalists life. First, he learns from the wisdom derived from past; second, he forms a harmonious relationship with nature and through this, he discovers certain ethical truths and is able to communicate with the divine. In the third stage, the transcendentalist has developed his higher faculties and has "spiritualized" his life. In Walden too the narrator passes through the first two stage and finally attains spirituality. This transcendental philosophy is the essence of this book and this philosophical theme runs throughout the book. A quick look at the book and the thoughts put forth will substantiate this.
The book contains eighteen essays, or chapters, that are loosely structured according to seasons beginning and ending in the spring. Henry arrives at the pond in spring. The last but one chapter, “Spring” forms the emotional climax of the book. Spring is that time of the year when the world renews itself. Thoreau by using this symbolism wants us to take a new look at life and reinvent ourselves.
In the first half of the book, Thoreau questions the lifestyles people have adopted. He makes one think whether the life one has chosen is worthwhile and whether it will bring happiness. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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