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Why did Thoreau live on the shore of Walden Pond, and why did he write Walden?

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recklessaband... | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 2, 2011 at 5:33 AM via web

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Why did Thoreau live on the shore of Walden Pond, and why did he write Walden?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 2, 2011 at 10:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Thoreau moved to the woods of Walden Pond to learn to live deliberately. He desired to learn what life had to teach him. He moved to the woods to experience a purposeful life. He did not want to have lived his whole life and not truly have lived:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

While living in the woods, Thoreau desired to simplify his life. He claims that too many people's lives are "frittered away by details." No doubt, Thoreau enjoyed his simplistic life, claiming that all men need to simplify their lives:

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.

Specifically, Thoreau did learn that one meal a day would suffice. He learned that a few plates are better than "a hundred dishes." Simple living is the key to a fulfilled life.

Thoreau wrote Walden to share his experiences gained while living in the woods. He desired to help others understand that a simplified life is a meaningful life. No doubt, he learned to live intentionally while keeping a record for posterity. He wrote a detailed account:

Walden (1854), is an eloquent account of his experiment in near-solitary living in close harmony with nature; it is also an expression of his transcendentalist philosophy.

At the very heart of Walden is one man's ability to move away from materialistic living and experience living off the natural land. Today, we have his masterpiece which gives us a idealistic view of living life in a simple manner:

In solitude, simplicity, and living close to nature, Thoreau had found what he believed to be a better life.

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