Thesis: Walden the Term Economy Has Multiple Meanings

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Walden

The term economy has multiple meanings. The two meanings most important to Henry David Thoreau related to personal economy and frugality. Although these are Thoreau's main concerns in Chapter 1 of Walden, the author is also concerned about society's view of economy and the current state of the people's material well-being in American society. For example, Thoreau mentions the economic conditions of the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders living in New England stating, "something about your condition, especially your outward condition or circumstances in this world, in this town, what it is, whether it is necessary that it be as bad as it is, whether it cannot be improved as well as not." Thoreau spends the bulk of Walden and especially the first chapter outlining the motives for his Walden Pond experiment. He emphasizes having "earned my living by the labor of my hands only," and stresses the simplicity of his lifestyle. Thus, Thoreau's economy is his frugality and the allocation of his own scarce resources. Thoreau deliberately presents Walden in opposition to the budding urbanization, industrialization, and increased wealth that sprouts up around him in New England. Therefore, Thoreau indirectly refers to other definitions of economy including the macroeconomic issues at play in 19th century America.

Question #2

In Chapter 2, Thoreau explains how he came specifically to Walden Pond, and how he cultivates a personal relationship with the land and the environment. Living in nature seems to offer Thoreau spiritual sustenance, as he writes, "Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself." Thoreau argues that the simple life, unencumbered by duties and responsibilities, is a spiritual blessing. Invoking Eastern philosophy, Thoreau suggests that the modern world clouds a direct communion with ourselves and with the vast universe. Living simply, living "deliberately" as Thoreau puts it, is a direct remedy to the stressors and poisons of modern materialistic existence. Materialism begets superficial happiness, whereas the simple life leads to genuine joy.

Question #3

In "Solitude," Thoreau demonstrates direct communion with nature. He refers to the evening as "delicious," and claims, "all the elements are unusually congenial to me." His relationship with nature is deeply personal. He mentions feeling in "sympathy" with plants and pine needles that "befriended" him. Thoreau suggests that an intimate attitude toward nature helps human beings cultivate a more peaceful mentality, and can lead to more harmonious human relationships as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Walden the Term Economy Has Multiple Meanings.  (2009, November 14).  Retrieved October 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/walden-term-economy-multiple-meanings/73491

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"Walden the Term Economy Has Multiple Meanings."  Essaytown.com.  November 14, 2009.  Accessed October 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/walden-term-economy-multiple-meanings/73491.