Walden Summaries Essay Research Paper Walden — страница 2

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fished with Thoreau in the mornings. They talked of the sky, caught worms, and then went on their way. Thoreau also watched the animals around his house. Little mice lived with him. A phoebe built a nest in his shed, and a the rac coon lived in the woods behind his house. Once, he observed black ants and red ants fighting over wood chips, a battle as fierce and terrible as any human war. He picked up a chip and watched one ant gnaw another under the microscope. He details the re cords of other ant battles in literary writings. He writes of the fox, the loon, and the ducks, all loving the pond as he does. Commentary Thoreau simultaneously separates us from other animals and includes us in the long line of inhabitants of the earth. Just as he admires his friend’s animal nature in

“Visitors,” he admires animals and uses comparisons with butterflies and flies to tell u s how we should be. At the same time, even while acknowledging our brute desires, he extols moral strength and mental control over our base natures. Thoreau’s arguments against not eating meat are not “moral,” but rather about a personal choice of feeli ng. He might crave meat, but grains fill him more. He might catch fish, but grains are less messy to prepare. He does not tell all people to stop eating meat. He instead asks us to watch the animals around us, to be part of this larger world, and then to eat with responsibility and awareness of life. One of the more interesting aspects of Thoreau’s arguments is the constant struggle between the body and the mind. On one level,

Thoreau seems to revel in the pleasures of the body: the sensation of soil beneath one’s toes and the observations of nature . However, there is a constant intellectual reflection to redeem these bodily forces, and he seems to urge us to use our minds rather than our bodies. This does not seem to have the purpose of separating us from other animals because most of Thoreau’s w riting either personifies animals or animalizes humans. Rather, it is for fully appreciating all the abilities that have been given to us. To truly live is to truly be aware of all that we can do, and then to use all parts of ourselves. Thoreau personifies the ants, making their battle seem just as important as a battle in the human world. While a biologist might screech, “That’s not right! Ants do

not feel any of these things,” this belies the deeper technique of Thoreau’s powers of ob servation. Each of his sensations has some sort of implication, reminds him of something else, or makes him think about the greater world. In living his life this way, Thoreau has a richness of experience and a joy in living that is unparalleled. When Thoreau lists the other ant-battles that have been recorded in literature, he is not only telling what this battle reminds him of. He is also placing himself in the larger stream of classical literature. In “The Pond in Winter,” Thoreau tells of how Wal den contains all the waters that the great rivers and lakes of the world contain. Thoreau begs us to read the classics, but he also is creating himself as a new classic, as a thinker in

this long line of great thinkers of the world. He is not humble, bu t he is joyful. He attempts to make his sensations available to all, just as the writers of the Classics have done. Walden – Spring & Conclusion Summary When the ice-cutters open the lake, they cause the ice to break up earlier than it would otherwise. The sun warms the ice. It also reflects off the bottom of the lake, warming the bottom of the ice and causing it to fill with bubbles and holes like a honeycomb. One reason Thoreau came to the woods was to watch this happen, to see spring arriving. The sand makes all sorts of patterns as the ice melts, the sap flows in the trees, and the buds begin to sprout. The birds come out chirping, the squirrel chatters, and the geese honk overhead. Spring, when the

leaves unfurl, is the time of newness and life. We need wilderness. We need to have fields and forests around villages. We need to see nature so full of life that there can be sacrifice and death. The trees put forth leaves and nature goes on. After two years, Thoreau’s sojourn in the woods ended on September 6, 1847. What does this teach us? Explore your own world, the streams where you live, your own intellect, and mind the seas and inlets of the moral mind. He writes: It is easier to sail many thousand miles through cold and storm and cannibals, in government ship, with five hundred men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one’s being alone. If you want to travel, explore yourself. Thoreau left the woods because