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Henry David Thoreau: Walden - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Walden: Lessons Learnt from Nature. Henry David Thoreau built a rough cabin in the wilderness of Walden Pond, which served as a Nature Retreat for the inhabitants of Concorde in the 1840’s. He spent two years there, living a solitary life devoted to writing and communion with nature…
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Henry David Thoreau: Walden
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Henry David Thoreau: Walden

16). The lessons learnt by Thoreau constitute the theme of Walden and this theme is shared by him with his readers. These lessons reflect Thoreau’s philosophy of Transcendentalism. The themes of Walden are the joys which can be derived from nature, the identification of nature with the Divine, and the need to rise above materialism. Thoreau bears witness to the great joy which is bestowed on those who choose to live in close communion with nature. Nature’s unconfined, vast horizons are a source of pure happiness. Thoreau asserts that even “the most melancholy man” is sure to find “the most sweet and tender, the most innocent and encouraging society” in Nature and in “the friendship of the seasons” (Chapter 5, para. 4). To him, nature is not only his friend, companion and source of happiness, but also the sure path to experience true freedom, and the best recipe for health. Nature is “the pill which will keep us well, serene, contented” (Chapter 5, para. 18). Again, Thoreau repeats that “We need the tonic of wildness” for our well being (Chapter 17, para. 24). Thoreau’s delight in nature is infectious. ...
His emphatically joyous, lyrical tone, and loving description, convinces his readers that nature is the greatest source of happiness in life. Thoreau identifies nature with the Divine. His communion with nature is so intense and personal, that it borders on the spiritual. Nature to him is eternal. He uses the lilac, which outlives men and their houses, as a symbol to contrast eternal nature with transient humanity. Similarly, the immeasurable depth and purity of Walden Pond is, to Thoreau, a symbol of man’s abiding belief in the eternal. The winds carry to Thoreau “celestial music” (Chapter 2, para.8). Even commonplace sounds, such as the distant bells and the lowing of cows, are voices of Nature and part of the “vibration of the universal lyre” (Chapter 4, para.15). Nature is synonymous with the Divine Creator and is the “mother of humanity” (Chapter 17, para.9). Thoreau worships at Nature’s shrines: the pine groves and swamps. Nature to him is a vast, colorful, ever-changing art gallery, whose manager is the Divine Creator. Heaven is not just a paradise in the skies, but also very much a part of earth, in the form of Nature: “Heaven is under our feet is well as over our heads” (Chapter 16, para.2). Thoreau sees God in Nature, as embodied by Walden Pond: to him, his Creator’s face is mirrored in the beauty of its waters: “I cannot come closer to God and Heaven/ Than I live to Walden even” (Chapter 9, para.9). Walden is Thoreau’s explicit declaration of his Transcendentalist belief that “the natural world was the face and essence of God; becoming physically closer to nature, contemplating it, understanding it—these were the actions that brought man closer to his maker” (Finseth, 8). Thoreau’s love of Nature leads him to a ... Read More
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