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What are some real world connections to this quote from Thoreau?"Our life is frittered...

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brew1212 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted March 7, 2012 at 4:52 AM via web

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What are some real world connections to this quote from Thoreau?

"Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his 10 fingers , or in extreme cases he may add his 10 toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity."

Needs to be realted to a character, current historical event, or movie / book- particular character or scene.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 7, 2012 at 1:21 PM (Answer #1)

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The first person that I think about is Chris McCandless in Into the Wild. This has also been made into a film if you are interested. It describes the amazing life of a young man who took Thoreau in a sense too literally, and died as a result of trying to live a simple life in extreme simplicity. Chris McCandless rejected the normal rat race, even though he was very intelligent and had a good degree, and spent his time wandering around the United States, often living off nothing more than his wits alone and doing a series of menial jobs to earn his keep. He seemed to recognise implicitly the way that our lives can be "frittered away by detail" and as a result how our lives are made into something that does not really resemble life at all.

You might want to look at the book or watch the film to research into this character some more. It is a great read! I think you might enjoy it.

Sources:

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ahuffer | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 7, 2012 at 7:40 AM (Answer #2)

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Have you seen The Notebook? That's the first movie that comes to mind when I read the quote in relation to your question. The scene is when Noah and Allie are in the rain. They have spent their young lives separated from each other because of "all the little details" of their lives that have gotten in the way; money, parents, the delivery/non-delivery of love letters, time, etc... The "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity", is the basis of the movie: "Do they love wach other enough to make it work?"...simply, yes...regardless of whatever other "details" get in the way.

Noah is an honest man, who honestly loves Allie. He doesn't need to count his fingers OR toes to know that simple truth, and he holds true to that simplicity regardless of all that life throws their way to "fritter" away all their time together.

You can also apply this quote to the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", because Prufrock measures his life in coffee spoons.

And, the quote can EASILY apply to ALL of us today. We are all SO busy and so distracted that it would be healthier for us to find more "simplicity." Instead of doing homework, while on Facebook, while listening to your iPod, and while watching TV in the background... it would be so much better to just FULLY commit to one thing at a time. It's difficult to keep your "affairs in order", when you have so many affairs to remember, that they push each other out of your head! Right? Keep your list narrowed down to the most important things...ten fingers and ten toes...love, family, friends, you...and the rest will take care of itself. Simplicity.

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