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In Walden, "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" what mood is created by Thoreau's use...

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ljm3515 | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:40 AM via web

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In Walden, "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" what mood is created by Thoreau's use of descriptive words and phrases?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 29, 2012 at 2:07 AM (Answer #1)

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The mood of this chapter is, as Thoreau himself says, "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!" He describes the place where he has settled on Walden Pond as being far enough removed from the town (Concord) to afford him complete quiet and solitude. He evokes a sense of bucolic beauty and peace when describing the countryside. What he means to do is to emphasize the beauty of simple things that many people take for granted:

For the first week, whenever I looked out on the pond it impressed me like a tarn high up on the side of a mountain, its bottom far above the surface of other lakes, and, as the sun arose, I saw it throwing off its nightly clothing of mist, and here and there, by degrees, its soft ripples or its smooth reflecting surface was revealed, while the mists, like ghosts, were stealthily withdrawing in every direction into the woods, as at the breaking up of some nocturnal conventicle.

In this setting, Thoreau feels as removed from the hustle of modern society as the stars are from planet Earth. He claims that in this setting, his soul was "reinvigorated" each day by the quiet beauty of his surroundings. In this setting, he hopes to really be alive, to "suck out all the marrow of life." He believes that most people live "like ants," and believes that by choosing to live in solitude, in the countryside, he is getting away from all that. He hopes to show through his description of his life on Walden that life is best lived simply, and the language in this chapter is evocative of this simplicity.

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