How did living in the woods help Thoreau write Walden?

Living in the woods for two years allowed Thoreau to experience a very simple and elemental form of life, which he then eloquently describes and celebrates in Walden.

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In his book Walden, subtitled Life in the Woods, Thoreau wrote a famous line that sums up how living in the woods helped him write his book. He states,

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life,...

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In his book Walden, subtitled Life in the Woods, Thoreau wrote a famous line that sums up how living in the woods helped him write his book. He states,

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.

As Thoreau explains, he goes to the woods to simplify his life and bring it down to the bare essentials, then record what he felt and experienced by living in this elemental way. He resides in a small cabin, then furnishes it as simply as possible and lives frugally, spending as little as he can.

Because he stays by himself this way for two years and two months, relying on his savings and his simple lifestyle, Thoreau is able to experience what simplicity feels like and have the time to take notes and record it. Walden has an authenticity because Thoreau actually experienced what he wrote about. He tells us, too, in concrete detail how he managed, hoping to be a model for how others could live if they chose to ditch a life of endless toil and spending. Thoreau finds his time in the woods liberating, freeing him from dependence on more and more material goods.

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