Walden Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

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In Walden, how does Thoreau use literary elements to show that he grew closer to nature?

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In Walden, Thoreau uses literary elements such as metaphor, simile, comparison, quotation of other texts, personification, and even sometimes satire to show that he grew closer to nature. For instance, he says,

To anticipate, not the sunrise and the dawn merely, but, if possible, Nature herself! How many mornings, summer and winter, before yet any neighbor was stirring about his business, have I been about mine! ... It is true, I never assisted the sun materially in his rising, but, doubt not, it was of the last importance only to be present at it.

Thoreau personifies Nature here, expressing his early rising to greet her. He likens his closeness to nature to assisting the sun to rise, which he admits that he never did “materially,” but it was of upmost importance to him to be up to witness the sunrise.

He likens Nature, which he capitalizes throughout the book, to a religion. More precisely, being close to Nature was a religion for Thoreau, who uses biblical allusions in several places. He...

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