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For what reasons did Thoreau write "Walden"?Is there a book or something that...

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maxilou | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2009 at 9:26 AM via web

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For what reasons did Thoreau write "Walden"?

Is there a book or something that explains this book in plain English/

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 21, 2009 at 10:43 AM (Answer #1)

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According to Thoreauvian Ken Kifer, Thoreau's "Walden" was published to express his philosophy of life.  Rather than having the desire to live a life with a goal of the acquisition of wealth, Thoreau saw the goal of life to be the exploration of the mind and the magnificent world around people. His voyage through life was much more inward than that of many others:

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 ie had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.

Thoreau wished to find the "whole and genuine" meaning of life and not spend his life in frivolous details.  He offers an alternative solution to the consumer life, the dependent life.  The self-reliant man, Thoreau explains, has the strength to choose his own course in life, solving his own problems himself.  He did not live to acquire money; instead, he desired Life's experience and appreciation for the beauty of Nature.  He is tolerant to others around him and pure in mind.

However, Thoreau's observations and conclusions are often tangled with metaphors and hyperboles, paradoxes, sarcasm, and double entendres.  Because of the use of these literary devices, Walden is sometimes abstruse.  See the site listed below for help.

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