In the chapter "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," how does Thoreau show the relationship between man and place?

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In Walden, Thoreau writes his second chapter, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” in order to illustrate how much the place in which a person lives can affect that person's life.

Thoreau chooses to make his home away from the village. He is attracted to the remote location, which is “two miles from the village” and “half a mile from the nearest neighbor,” for he wants to be by himself in nature. Thoreau builds a small cabin, which allows him to be nearest to nature while still being somewhat comfortable. The birds are his neighbors, and he is not caged or imprisoned. Rather, he can be free in the natural world, feeling far from civilization and close to beauty and peace. The place in which he lives allows him to “live deliberately,” to keep his mind wide awake, to enjoy “effective intellectual exertion,” and even to experience a “poetic and divine life.” This, he claims, is only possible, or at least most likely, in a solitary natural setting. He could not live like this in a village or town close to many people.

In fact, living in a village or town actually distracts people from really living. People “live meanly, like ants,” all gathered together, focusing on gossip and politics and economics. They hurry to and fro, think that the railroad is the best thing ever invented, and waste their lives in meaningless chatter and activity.

Indeed, the place in a which a person lives greatly affects their life, for it either allows for a full immersion in life through the beauty and solitude of nature, or it distracts, annoys, interrupts, and even destroys one's peace of mind.

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