What are some of the obstacles Thoreau faced on his journey?

1 Answer

chsmith1957's profile pic

chsmith1957 | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Thoreau moved to the shoreline of Walden Pond in order to find himself as a writer and to work on a book about the boat trip that he and his brother John made six years earlier. He had three basic needs (as do we all): a place to live, enough food to survive, and enough money to pay for everything. In the “Economy” chapter of Walden, he tells us how he built his 10’ x 15’ house, which cost him less than $30 in materials. In “The Bean-Field,” he explains that he planted a large garden to grow vegetables that he could either eat or sell. And near the end of “Economy,” he claims that he found work as a day laborer, with a variety of jobs that generated enough income in just six weeks to last him an entire year. According to what he tells us, the Walden Pond experiment succeeded on these counts. He also had lots of time to study nature, and he finished writing the book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

In addition, Thoreau also contended with the perception of the local townspeople. They thought he was crazy for living in the woods, because no rational person would do this. After he moved back to the town center, he was asked so many questions about what he had done at Walden that he began to give public lectures on the subject. Coupled with the notes he had already made at the pond, these pieces eventually became a full manuscript and were published as the book Walden; or, Life in the Woods, seven years later.

Sources: