Walden Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

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How would you explain Thoreau's reasons for leaving Walden Pond?

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The other answers rightly quote Thoreau’s own stated reason for leaving the woods: because he had begun to fall into a rut in his forest existence, and he was no longer far from the beaten path but treading it daily. He believed it was time to move on because he had other lives to live and had spent quite enough time and energy on that one.

Earlier in chapter 18, Thoreau addresses the question of travel for its own sake and suggests that this is pointless unless one is able to learn something new. Having left the woods, he feels that his “experiment” taught him an important lesson: that if a man strives for his dreams, this will teach him a new way of seeing the world, and new paths will open themselves up to him.

In pursuit of his dreams of learning, then, Thoreau must move on because the woods have nothing else to reveal to him, but also he is now convinced of the value of going where dreams compel him to go. Thoreau’s quest is not for love or money, but for “truth,” and he...

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