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Topics for Further Study

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Would you want to spend a year or two living as Thoreau lived at Walden Pond? Why or why not?

Thoreau refers to Greek and Roman gods and goddesses and to Hindu gods and scriptures throughout Walden. Do research to learn about these two religious systems and then explain why you think Thoreau made frequent references to them. What aspects and elements of these religions make them compatible with Thoreau’s ideas?

Thoreau kept detailed financial records to show how much money he earned and how much he spent on various things. What does this tell you about him? Does this trait seem consistent with other aspects of Thoreau’s philosophy and behavior, or not? Explain your answer.

Spend a period of time—an hour or a day—in natural surroundings and away from other people as much as possible. Your ‘‘Walden’’ may be a backyard or a park. Take notes on what you observe. Later, write an essay about your experience in which you include both information from your notes and reflections about how the experience affected you.

Imagine that you are Thoreau and have just been set down in the middle of an airport in a big American city in the twenty-first century. Write a page in your journal describing what you see, hear, and feel.