Though his work is revered throughout the world today, Henry David Thoreau could achieve only mediocre success during his living years. Even Walden, one of his greatest works, and the basis of people’s ideologies during the Vietnam War and the era of the Civil Rights movement, was met with little success. However, there is no doubt that it was because of Thoreau’s influential writing, and his part in the transcendentalist movement along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, that people in America denounced the logistics of consumerism, capitalism and government policies, and declared themselves owners of their own intellect. This essay discusses in brief the first two chapters of Walden, Economy and Where I Lived, and What I Lived for.
In the first chapter, Economy, Thoreau exalts the benefits of leading a simple life, as he did for two years near Lake Walden. He says that possessions suck people into a circle that deprives people of their inner freedom: not only do they require additional labour to be able to purchase them, but also afflict the person owning them to be plagued with worry for their safety CITATION Tho54 p 6-62 l 16393 (Thoreau 6-62).
Thus, Thoreau asserts that all a man needs in his life are four basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing and fuel. What is more is that all these substances are available in nature’s lap. Therefore, any added attempt at luxury will not lead one to peace, but only to a path riddled with worr…
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