Walden Themes

Submitted By jagroopmann1
Words: 3306
Pages: 14

“Walden” is a story in which the protagonist goes on living a simple lifestyle in the nature away from the rest of the world. Henry David Thoreau explores several themes or issues which show the importance of this novel and what it means. This novel mainly deals with one of the four themes that we discussed in class which is Innovation vs Nostalgia which I will discuss later on in the essay through some of the ideas discussed in the novel.
Firstly, I’ll discuss a man being part of the wilderness or nature and how he can live off of it. We all live in a society that has been domesticated by a man. We have controlled nature in the form by using it to build factories, buildings, and other advancements. Thoreau counters the separation of a man from society by conceiving of a man as a part of nature. Through his time in the wilderness Thoreau lives away from the land where facilities can be found. He develops an intellectual stimulation from plants and animals. Thoreau proves in his novel that a person can live a good lifestyle successfully even in the nature. The animals in the woods gave him camaraderie and a feeling of friendship. They accepted him as a part of their environment and their home. Examples were given in the story that show how even nature felt compassion towards Thoreau. For instance, the cold winds blow after Thoreau builds his chimney and covers his walls. The statement of a man being a part of nature indorses Thoreau's idea that most people who are and want to become more knowledgeably satisfied and psychologically aware of things should or do usually live away from the busy lifestyles of city.
The sleeping of mankind and need for spiritual awakening was also discussed by Thoreau. Thoreau says how fulfilling the basic requirements of life in the nineteenth century as forced a person to live like if he were sleep walking. This has been forced by the chain of one working so hardly to support oneself and his family. The notion of sleeping is used by Thoreau as a representation of those people who tend to live life by a routine and who don’t consider the greater questions and meaning of it. Because of this, most likely Thoreau wants the readers to pursue a spiritual awakening. He stresses his viewpoint out that how by getting up early and getting to experience nature early in the morning he gains a lot while others are sleep. The spiritual awakening that Thoreau gets is usually gotten in the times of day and in the seasons of the year. If one wants to get the best self-awareness and spiritual discoveries then those are gotten as Thoreau says in the morning time and in the season spring.
Thoreau also talks about society and classes in Walden. Thoreau constantly compares what the American society is currently to some of the older societies who were considered original and beasts like the Native Americans. He also compares our society to other societies of the likes of the Chinese and the Greek. American society often loses during both of these comparisons. Instead of us coming together and acting more like a society, according to Thoreau he sees us people having a ferocious affection to wealth and political power. According to Thoreau our society is still of barbarians and that we haven’t even kept the best customs of societies that we call beasts. Thoreau thinks that our civilization will always be incomplete until we all don’t overcome greed, inequality, and intolerance. Civilization is just another example of what barbarism is as it doesn’t have any positive values for Thoreau. When Thoreau keeps on referencing the ancient philosophical texts in the novel this tells us that they have important significance to our modern American society because in one way or another or society has been formed on the principles of those ancient texts.
Next is the animal and spiritual struggle that takes place within a man. According to Thoreau he notices that almost every man, including himself, has two struggling