Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

What does Leon Edel mean by classifying Walden as an “imaginary voyage”?

The first chapter of Walden is called “Economy.” What meanings of the word are applicable in this chapter, and what is Henry David Thoreau’s purpose in beginning the work in this way?

How does Thoreau use time as a unifying device in Walden?

How does Thoreau’s concept of Transcendentalism differ from that of Ralph Waldo Emerson?

What qualities of the essay “Civil Disobedience” have made it so extraordinarily influential?

How did Thoreau’s journal serve him?

What has made Thoreau’s journal such a popular work with dedicated Thoreauvians?