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Thoreau's reasons for leaving Walden Pond

Summary:

Thoreau left Walden Pond because he felt he had several more lives to live and could not spare any more time on that particular one. He believed it was time to move on and explore different aspects of life, having accomplished what he set out to do during his time at Walden Pond.

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How did Thoreau describe his reasons for leaving the woods in Walden?

Thoreau states that he left the woods because he had satisfied his mind by what he had always considered an experiment and he wanted to try something else.

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.

Thoreau seems to have considered himself a student who was always learning new things about the world and about himself. In one of the most famous passages in Walden he writes in his concluding paragraph:

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Thoreau does not seem to be apologizing for giving up his solitary life in a tiny cabin in the woods. Evidently he never planned to make it a permanent home. He seems to have gotten a great deal of enjoyment out of creating his cabin and growing his own food. He had many talents, and he describes with loving care the details of building his cabin and making it snug by plastering the whole interior. He wanted to see what it would be like to be all alone in the world. He wanted to find out if he could be entirely independent and self-supporting. Thoreau was a man who always wanted to learn by doing, by hands-on experience. Many readers envy his rustic accommodation with his fireplace made out of stones he selected from the ground around his cabin-site or taken right out of the pond. His experiment was not expensive, and he left the cabin to be used by other people. The work he put into building his home and tending his beans was part of a learning experience. Walden is a learning experience for the reader as well.

 

 

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What were Thoreau's reasons for leaving Walden Pond?

The other answers rightly quote Thoreau’s own stated reason for leaving the woods: because he had begun to fall into a rut in his forest existence, and he was no longer far from the beaten path but treading it daily. He believed it was time to move on because he had other lives to live and had spent quite enough time and energy on that one.

Earlier in chapter 18, Thoreau addresses the question of travel for its own sake and suggests that this is pointless unless one is able to learn something new. Having left the woods, he feels that his “experiment” taught him an important lesson: that if a man strives for his dreams, this will teach him a new way of seeing the world, and new paths will open themselves up to him.

In pursuit of his dreams of learning, then, Thoreau must move on because the woods have nothing else to reveal to him, but also he is now convinced of the value of going where dreams compel him to go. Thoreau’s quest is not for love or money, but for “truth,” and he asks the reader to find truth wherever they are, accept their own lives, and determine what can be learned there.

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What were Thoreau's reasons for leaving Walden Pond?

Henry David Thoreau's Walden; or, Life in the Woods describes his experience of living in a cabin in the woods by Walden Pond in Massachusetts. The book details Thoreau's spiritual quest to live independently and simply and to transcend the desperation that he perceives to be a core part of most people's existence. In discovering his connection with nature and refusing the quest for outward success, Thoreau connects transcendentally to the concept of self-reliance and minimizes his lifestyle and needs.

Ultimately, he chooses to leave Walden Pond, stating:

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!

In other words, his life in the woods was becoming tired--a path well-trod and too familiar. In order to continue his transcendence, Thoreau would have to once again leave behind the comfortable in search of something greater, believing that if one stays in any one place for too long, he risks falling into a state of conformity. 

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What were Thoreau's reasons for leaving Walden Pond?

Thoreau basically says that he came to the pond for certain reasons and now they are satisfied, and so is he.  His job there was done.  There were other things to do, and so he left. 

Specifically, he quotes, "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there.  Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.  It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves."  He did not want living in the woods to become a mere habit, and felt there were other goals in life he was to pursue and achieve.

He has realized his dreams, and at the conclusion of Walden, he suggests that readers, rather than pursue success, should go their own ways at their own pace and love their lives no matter how humble those lives may be.

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What were Thoreau's reasons for leaving Walden Pond?

In his conclusion, Thoreau explains to us why he left Walden Pond. We can spend a little time unpacking his reasoning. He states,

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.

In other words, the man who went to the woods because he wanted to drink the "marrow" of life felt he had gotten what he could from that particular experience. As he states, he was getting into a dull routine at the cabin and wanted more:

How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!

What was once fresh and liberating had become old and, as he put it, a "beaten track." To stay in the cabin by Walden Pond after it had become merely safe and routine would be to betray himself. It was time to move on and confront other experiences, to "see the moonlight amid the mountains."

Thoreau had stated from the start that the life at Walden Pond was an experiment in how to live more fully and more directly. He wanted to learn what lessons life had to teach him when he simplified his life to the essentials. He did this and, as he states, had "a success unexpected in common hours."

But Thoreau never wanted to become settled and comfortable. He was always seeking knowledge, wisdom, and experience and knew that, to achieve these, he had to take new risks. He had already learned from Walden Pond that when he boldly lived the life he imagined, he was richly repaid. This encouraged him to look outwards and keep on seeking. Security was far less important to him than the adventure of living. Walden was not an end in and of itself, but a stage in the journey: he had "more lives to live."

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