On July 4, 1845, Mr. Thoreau set out to live self-sufficiently near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. He builds his home, grows his food, provides his own warmth, etc. Sounds intriguing, yes? It could have been, in fact, it should have been, but when you insert minutiae, it tends to lead to much yawning and jerking of the head.
I do believe the author was a brilliant and altruistic man, however, I think this book should have been kept in the privacy of its writers hands only. As evidenced by the many quotes I’ve noted, Thoreau was an introspective and genuine person who, for some odd reason, felt obliged to publish his extremely detailed two-year experience at Walden Pond.
To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem.
We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The faultfinder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich ma’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices.
I’m sure I’d have much to discuss with this rebel with many causes. Perhaps we’d find a worthwhile cause to support and chat over all things literary as well. Such an interesting life led by Mr. Thoreau would ensure no lags in our conversations, but I’d be sure to avoid reading any of his diary entries.
My rating for Walden is a 5 out of 10.
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