What were the important ideas presented in each section of Thoreau's Walden?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Economy.  A criticism against the materialistic nature of society.  Thoreau argues that ownership is a disadvantage to humans because it separates them from their true nature.  He explains that he will go and live in the woods to find simplicity and truth.

Where I lived.  The idea here is that to fully live a person must isolate himself in nature.  Purity and unity are the ideas.

Reading.  Emphasizes classical texts as a source of wisdom.

Sounds. Nature and unity.  Reading should be accompanied by the sounds of nature.

Solitude:  Nature and unity.  It is not possible to be lonely with nature, but humans alienate each other.

Visitors: To prove he wasn't a total hermit, he describes the people who visited.

Bean Field: Simplicity.  He describes growing his own food.

The Village: Freedom.  He is arrested for failure to pay taxes, done in protest to slavery.

The Ponds: Nature. Describes the surrounding.

Baker Farm: Simplicity.  The hard life of a nearby farmer trying to succeed.

Higher Laws: Spirituality.  He focuses on the human soul.

Brute Neighbors: Animal nature vs. spiritual nature.

House Warming: Preparing for Winter

Former Inhabitants: Solitude is challenging

Winter Animals: Nature. 

Pond in Winter: Unity.  Ice from the pond is harvested to spread elsewhere.

Spring: Nature revitalized.

Conclusion: Spirituality.