Henry David Thoreau

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What is Henry David Thoreau's best quote?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Still another often quoted line is from "Walden":  "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  How frequently this is true of people trapped in unfulfilling jobs and relationships.  And, so many times this remark seems thematic of works of literature (e.g. "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," even some of the characters in "Brave New World").

An artiistic soul, Thoreau pbserved. 

If a man does not keep pace with his companion perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

But, perhaps one of the most profound of Thoreau's aphorisms is "It takes two to speak the truth,--one to speak, and another to hear." --"Wednesday"

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katemschultz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think his best quote is "Simplify, simplify, simplify." Even though Thoreau wrote that over 100 years ago, it's still so applicable today. If Thoreau was telling the people of his time to simplify their lives, can you imagine what he would think of our society today? We, as a society, have become so materialistic, needing, relying on, depending on things like cell phones, internet, iPods, cars, airplanes, ATMs, laptops, coffee shops, Super-Mega-Ultra Wal-Marts, and even things like refrigerators, stove, microwaves, electricity, indoor plumbing. Some of us would be fine without a cell phone, iPod, cable, video game system, but there are few among us who could go even close to as simple as Thoreau got. I have students who would rather I took away an arm or a hand than their cell phone. I wonder if Thoreau would marvel at our advances or be disgusted at how dependent we've become.

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enotechris eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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From Walden: 'I heartily accept the motto, “That government is...

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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