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Could someone help me with this question over Walden?I have to answer this question...

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sergeantpepper | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2010 at 5:27 AM via web

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Could someone help me with this question over Walden?

I have to answer this question about "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau. Could someone tell me where I should look in the book or a chapter to look in? Here is the question:

On the narrative level, Walden is a record of experiments in practical living. Describe some of these experiments (building, fishing, cooking, etc.) and show how they reflect Thoreau’s doctrine of simplicity.

I just need an idea to get me started. I read the book but I found it very confusing. Thank you so much!

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 25, 2010 at 11:06 AM (Answer #1)

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In "Economy" Thoreau states that he made "no haste in my work, but rather made the most of it," he frames his house and makes it ready to be raised.  This frame was made from a shanty that Thoreau had purchased from James Collins, a shanty that Thoreau declares is "an uncommonly fine one."  He dug his cellar in the side of a hill where a woodchuck had formerly dug his burrow; he brought stones for the foundation from a hill near his pond.  He cooked outdoors  on the ground before his chimney was built, but felt that it was "more convenient and agreeable." 

After his experience, Thoreau provides advice to his readers on how to "build more deliberately than I did," likening the building of a house to the bird's building of a nest as something to be done by hand so as to develope the "poetic faculty." 

Further on, in "Where I Lived, and What I Live For" Thoreau gives his advice of "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"  He tells his readers that Americans have too many superficial things--luxuries--and they are ruined by them.  Better to live with "Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose."

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