Walden Summaries Essay Research Paper Walden

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Walden Summaries Essay, Research Paper Walden – Sounds Summary For all the greatness of literature, there is a greater language of life, the language without metaphor. It is the language where things happen: rays of light shine through the window, the bean plants blossom in the garden, the birds flit through the house. “I love a broad margin to my life,” Thoreau writes . Attention to the present moment will make life as exciting as a novel because life then becomes the entertainment. Time is no longer divided into units, but flows between past and future, pausing as we experience the present moment. Thoreau’s house was on the side of a hill, surrounded by fruit, trees pushing leaves on tender boughs, and limbs breaking from the lush weight of berries. He heard the

sound of birds interrupted only by the whistle of the locomotive whirring as it made its way along the tracks. The locomotive! Shining and snorting like some new being, it made its regular appearance just like the sun. This silver machine caused people to be regular, punctual with hours and moments. Men shoveled the snow with courage so that the locomotive could rumble though, filled with commerce, bringing cloth and wood, hemp and fish. Cattle trains! Pastoral life whirled away. But he crossed the tracks, not staying to see or hear the smoke, the steam, and the hissing. On Sundays he hears bells, the wood-nymph echo of bells from the forest. The mooing of a cow, the buzz of a whippoorwill. The screech owl cries out against the night, Oh-o-o-o-o that I never had been

bor-r-r-r-n!, echoing across the lake. Or the hooting owl, Hoo hoo hoo, hoorer hoo, hooting so that men need not. Then the wagons creak in the night, and the frogs make their guttural tr-r-r-oonk into the twilight air. In the morning he has never heard a cock-crowing, or any of the domesticated birds. His life was all nature, with bramble bushes creeping into the house. Creeping, no yard, no gate, the world. Commentary The image of the train is fascinating in the world of Thoreau. On one hand, the train symbolizes the progress and speed of the world that he deplores. He describes the rush of commerce from one place to another. In the first chapter, he spoke of how men’s lives were wasted building the railroad. This machine, with its speed and silver, whirls away the pastoral

life. In the end, he leaves the tracks. However, at the same time, there is a definite attraction to the whirling beast. Thoreau calls it the “iron horse” and describes it with awe, using sublime descriptions. Mechanical objects definitely have an attraction for Thoreau, perhaps because of his background as an engineer, and he says that he feels “refreshed” as the train passes by. Yet, he pulls away. Perhaps this is the most telling reflection of the time in which Thoreau existed. Technology was changing at a wondrous rate, but the vestiges of “rural America” still remained. Most people did not live in cities, but trade and commerce were pulling people toward urban life. Thoreau is swept into the beauty of the train. Speed and progress are seductive, yet he also must

ask himself what the effects of the train are. He seems to come to some peace, admiring the train aesthetically while keeping a sense of distance from the results. All of the sounds in this chapter follow the ebb and flow of one day. They begin with the morning sounds, progress to sounds of the afternoon, move into the evening, and then return to the sounds he does not hear in the morning. Time and sound are deeply linked. When he describes the whippoorwill he describes the precision of the space between each call. The whistle of the locomotive sounds at the same time each morning. The church bells ring on Sunday. Each sound signals something, but at the same time, Thoreau exists within each moment, basking in the implications of each sound. Brute Neighbors Sometimes another man