Paraphrase "Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul."  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What Thoreau is saying here overall is essentially that money cannot buy happiness.  It cannot buy what you really need in order to be a fulfilled human being.

The first sentence can be paraphrased something like this:

The only thing that you can buy with money you don't need is things that you don't need.

The second sentence can be paraphrased something like this:

The one thing that your soul really needs is something that cannot be bought with money.

So overall he is saying that we should not try hard to get a lot of money.  This was a major idea of transcendentalism -- if we chase money too much, we will never become truly happy.



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