Thoreau's prose has statements of proverbs or epigrams. Select a statement that's proverbial in nature and explain how its meaning can apply to our own times.What is a statement and where can it be...

Thoreau's prose has statements of proverbs or epigrams. Select a statement that's proverbial in nature and explain how its meaning can apply to our own times.

What is a statement and where can it be found?

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the greatest thinkers in American history, Henry David Thoreau, a Transcendentalist, perceived nature as the doorway to the mystical world holding important truths.  For this reason, he went into the woods "deliberately" so that he could arrive at certain truths. Certainly, his work, Walden, expresses profound truths which Thoreau arrived at by means of his contemplation of nature.  One of these truths, or epigrams is found in the chapter entitled "Economy":

Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.

Thoreau continues,

....He has no time to be anything but a machine....The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling.

Probably now, more so than in his time, Thoreau's observation is true, as people are so occupied with work and the acquisition of material goods that, while they provide material things for themselves and their children, they neglect the nurturing of their souls through walks in nature, through listening to real music, to visiting art museums, attending plays, etc.  In short, they neglect the aesthetic part of life found in the fine arts.  Most importantly, they do not devote enough of their lives to the nurturing of the family bond between them and their children through meaningful activities with their children, real engagement with their families in vacations, family outings such as picnics, boating, etc.  People must nurture the "fruit" of life, their souls, if they truly wish to feel fulfilled and happy and loved.

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