Waldenis a collection of observations, in journal form, of the time Henry David Thoreau spent living in isolation on the edge of Walden Pond. It's a small body of water located just outside of Concord, Massachusetts.
Place is important to the meaning of the writing, as it is a...
Walden is a collection of observations, in journal form, of the time Henry David Thoreau spent living in isolation on the edge of Walden Pond. It's a small body of water located just outside of Concord, Massachusetts.
Place is important to the meaning of the writing, as it is a series of reflections on a life spent in contemplation and simplicity. As a Transcendentalist, Thoreau spent his time at Walden Pond reflecting on nature and the negative effects of a commercial, hectic world which glorified the accumulation of things and wealth rather than the ideas and philosophies and thinking which matter much more and will live much longer than any things. He writes of the everyday happenings around him, such as two armies of ants doing battle or the look of the pond in winter. Thoreau also promotes his thriftiness and his nearly meatless lifestyle, among other things, as being closer to the true nature of man's existence compared to the wastefulness and greed of the modern world. He spends his time pursuing higher thoughts through reading and meditation, as well.
Place matters, then, because he didn't have the distractions and duties of the "real" world to contend with in his time of contemplation. I've always found it somewhat ironic that this pond was not so very isolated (note all his visitors and his closeness to Emerson's family home--since the pond was on Emerson's property--and his daily sojourn into Concord for the daily news). It's also interesting to note that this journal/book was actually published years after his time spent at the pond, leaving time and opportunity for further reflection and revision--done in the world of busy-ness and consuming. I'm also always struck by the irony of what Thoreau thought of as a world consumed with haste and materialism and lack of self-examination and wonder what he would have to say about our world if he were alive today.