Analysis Of The Passage “Where I Lived” From Walden By Henry David Thoreau
This extract from Walden shows Henry David Thoreau speaking to millions of people who “are awake sufficient for physical labor.” He attempts to encourage them to look at nature more fully and make them appreciate it more. Through rhetorical questions, symbolism, first-person plural pronouns, loose sentences, he demonstrates the importance of nature. Thoreau is focused on the current developments in his particular time frame and the effects they are having on society. Thoreau irritates the foolish and clueless laborers of society.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau explores the areas of gullibility common to everyday people. These include not being able to fully enjoy the essence of life through symbolism, rhetorical question, and then through first-person plural pronouns. Thoreau’s passage is figurative in that he asks rhetorical questions about the “slumbering” almost everyone does. He encourages men to get out of deep sleep of deafness. These rhetorical questions are about the actual sleep people get from hard work and the effects it has on their knowledge. People would have done something if they hadn’t worked so many hours. To persuade people, he uses an aphorism. He says that “to be awake means to be alive”. Understanding this message will help them feel the true meaning of freedom. Thoreau discusses the literal side of his “exertion”, explaining that it is best to be in nature and live a full life. Thoreau makes reference to the details in a painting to make it “beautiful”. Thoreau continues to use symbolism, explaining that the more details you add, the more glorious it will turn out for all the effort we put into it. This is “morally possible” because our lives are our paintings and our experiences our paintbrushes. Thoreau could have been labelled crazed at this point for his desire to experience this “experience”. But to Thoreau, he went into the woods to live in solitude “to face only the essential truths of life” and this is what he called his transcendentalist nature. He sought refuge in peace and rebelled against the established principles of society. Thoreau begins the passage with an ellipsis, which indicates that it was taken from another set of thoughts before he continued. Thoreau also uses the plural first person pronouns “we” to refer to giving up. “If you refuse or use up so little information as you get, the Oracles will clearly tell how it might be done.”
Summarising, he said that if humanity fails to see the importance and value of nature and our lives, then all societies “to be awake” will fail. The first person plural pronoun of “I” is also used to describe his reasons for isolation. He desires to “live deep and suckout all the marrow, to live such sturdily that it puts to rout every thing that was not living.” This is done in order to attract sleepy readers who may not be convinced about Thoreau’s views on isolation.
Thoreau can now be seen as a calm, invigorating individual after reading the passage. In the conversation about society, he makes his case for his actions and shows that he is honest. He shares his personal “awakening” to help people see the danger in their surroundings. He worries about people living in an environment that is not surrounded by nature. He also worries about man’s inability to feel the pure essence of life. “I do not know of any more encouraging fact than that man can elevate his life by making conscious efforts.” He is sharing his Transcendentalist principles with society, encouraging people to take pride in their lives and encourage others. Their relationship with nature will open them up to the endless possibilities and opportunities that life has to offer.