Walden Questions and Answers
by Henry David Thoreau

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What are some examples of similes and personification in the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau?

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In the first chapter of Walden, Thoreau utilizes personification in his comparison of age and youth. He writes, "Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost." Neither age nor youth can literally instruct, profit, or lose; these are qualities that can only, in the literal sense, apply to human beings and their constructs.

Later in the first chapter, Thoreau utilizes a simile, "One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels." In this sentence, Thoreau observes that the initiatives of a generation are rejected and left behind when the next generation comes along, like boats that are either dead in the water or washed ashore and vacated by the people sailing in them.

Also in the first chapter, Thoreau personifies the sun in saying, "I never assisted the sun materially in his rising." He assigns the male gender to the sun and affirms that it was important that he, Thoreau, was there to witness its...

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