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A naturalist perspective of life as depicted in henry david thoreaus on economy

He is most famous for his book Walden which is about his two-year experience of living in a cabin at Walden Pond in Concord. Thoreau was actually born David Henry Thoreau but began calling himself Henry David after finishing college, although he never legally changed his name.

Henry David Thoreau had three siblings: Jean Thoreau was born at St.

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Helier, Isle of Jersey, in 1754 and immigrated to America in 1773. The Poet-naturalist, that Thoreau sometimes spoke with a faint French accent, which Channing suggested was due to his French ancestry: Helier Isle of Jerseyin May, 1773.

Thus near to old France and the Church was our Yankee boy. After this last achievement, as after some others, he had a singular suspension of breath, with a purple hue in his face, — owing, I think, to his slow circulation shown in his slow pulse through life and hence the difficulty of recovering his breath. Perhaps a more active flow of blood might have afforded an escape from other and later troubles.

The pencils were high acclaimed and won awards for their high quality, bringing the Thoreau family financial stability. According to the book Henry David Thoreau: A Biography, Thoreau was a bit of a loner as a child and spent most of his time outdoors: He stood aside and watched when the others played games. Even when the townsfolk turned out for street parades and the rollicking music of bands, he would stay home.

He liked to watch the canal barges move along the Concord River, loaded with bricks or iron ore, and was thrilled when the boatmen let him leap aboard for a short passage. A special treat came when his mother asked him to stay home from school to pick the huckleberries she needed for a pudding.

With her love of nature, she tried to open her children to its delight. Growing up in the countryside, Henry would have come to know every bug, bird, berry, and beast, every fruit and flower. Would they had been better told, or better remembered!

For my memory is as poor as was her talk perennial. He was always a thoughtful, serious boy, in advance of his years, — wishing to have and do things his own way, and ever fond of wood and field; honest, pure, and good; a treasure to his parents, and a fine example for less happily constituted younglings to follow. According to Channing, when sudden rain storms would threaten his walks in the woods, Thoreau could build a makeshift shelter in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a knife.

In addition to boats, Thoreau also made pencils, built fences, finished barns a naturalist perspective of life as depicted in henry david thoreaus on economy built bookcases. After finishing his final year at Concord Academy in 1833, Thoreau reluctantly began to prepare to go to Harvard University. He took the entrance exams that summer and barely passed. This was more than his parents could afford so his entire family, including his siblings and two aunts, pitched in to help.

While at Harvard, Thoreau studied multiple languages and sat in on lectures on German literature by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. At the time, Harvard allowed students to take 13 weeks off from school in order to teach and earn money for tuition. In May of 1836, Thoreau became ill with what historians now believe was his first bout of tuberculosis. He spent the summer building a new boat, which he named Red Jacket, and took a trip to New York with his father to sell their pencils to local stores.

Thoreau returned to college in the fall but was frequently plagued by illness. He made it through his senior year and graduated with a bachelor of arts on August 30, 1837.

After graduating, Thoreau returned to Concord and took a job as a teacher at the public grammar school he attended as a child. The job only lasted two weeks though because he refused to use corporal punishment to control the children in his class. After being pressured to punish some of the more unruly children, he did so and then promptly quit his job that evening.

Thoreau tried to find work in other schools but an economic depression had begun in the U. Some sources say Thoreau first met Emerson in February of 1835 at Harvard where Emerson was giving a lecture, but the two were not close friends yet.

In the fall of 1837, Thoreau became more casually acquainted with Emerson, whose book, Nature, Thoreau had read at Harvard and greatly admired.

This casual acquaintance would soon develop into a close friendship, according to the book Henry David Thoreau: It was to Emerson that Thoreau looked for guidance.

The Life of Henry David Thoreau

They shared books and the ideas opening out from them. It was in October of 1837 that Emerson suggested to Thoreau that he keep a journal. He continued writing in his journal for the rest of his life, writing over two million words that eventually filled up about 14 volumes.

These journals were later published after his death. In the fall of 1838, Thoreau opened his own private school with his brother John. It was first held in their own home but then moved to the deserted building of the Concord Academy. It was a coeducational school made up of local students as well as children from out of town who boarded with the Thoreau family. One of its many students was a young Louisa May Alcott who began attending the school in 1840 when she first moved to Concord with her family.

Henry taught language and sciences while his brother John taught English and math. The Thoreau brothers took their students on frequent field trips to the local fields, woods and ponds as well as to the local businesses, such as the newspaper office and the gunsmith, to learn how they operated.

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The school earned such a great reputation that there was soon a waiting list to enroll. The two slept on buffalo skins in a cotton tent, hiked in the woods and climbed Mount Washington. The trip made such an impact on Thoreau that it became the basis of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, which he published in 1849.

That summer, the Thoreau brothers also met a young woman named Ellen Sewall, whom they both fell in love with, according to the book Henry David Thoreau: He lost his heart to Ellen Sewall, the sister of his pupil Edmund Sewall. In July 1839, when Ellen was seventeen and Thoreau twenty-three, she visited Concord, staying with the Thoreau family for two weeks. Both Henry and John were charmed by the beautiful girl. She went walking and boating with the brothers, and by the time she left, they were both in love with her.

Henry then proposed and, upon conferring with her father, a minister who disapproved of both Thoreau brothers as a suitable match, she informed Henry that she could not marry him.

A few years later, Sewall married a young minister named Joseph Osgood.

Various sources say that both Ellen and Henry still had feelings for each other for the rest of their lives. Thoreau soon began to publish his writing more and more around this time. Henry David Thoreau was invited to live with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family at their house where Thoreau did odd jobs in exchange for room and board.

On New Years day in 1842, John Thoreau cut his finger while shaving and soon became sick with tetanus and lock jaw. He recovered a few days later but was depressed for months. Many historians believe he was exhibiting symptoms of a psychosomatic illness.

  • It was in October of 1837 that Emerson suggested to Thoreau that he keep a journal;
  • When the walker does not too curiously observe;;;
  • Knowing the value Thoreau placed on the relation of man to nature, it is understandable that he came to the conclusion that this alienation from nature entailed the alienation of man from himself 60.

Hawthorne mentioned meeting Thoreau in his journal the following day: Thorow [sic] dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character—a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own.

He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty.

On the whole, I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know. The fire occurred when the two came ashore to make a camp fire and cook some fish they had just caught when a stray spark from the fire set the dead grass on fire.

The flames quickly spread up the hill and were soon out of control. The two men ran for help but it was too late.

  • This is the materialist variation;
  • He continued writing in his journal for the rest of his life, writing over two million words that eventually filled up about 14 volumes.

More than 300 acres burned resulting in two thousand dollars worth of damage to three local landowners. Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond: The cabin was built on the edge of 14 acres of land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson on the northwestern shore of Walden Pond.

He was highly skilled at construction and had recently gained some house building experience when he helped his father build his house on Texas road the year before, according to Channing: Two was one too much in his house. It was a larger coat and hat — a sentry-box on the shore, in the wood of Walden, ready to walk into in rain or snow or cold. As for its being in the ordinary meaning a house, it was so superior to the common domestic contrivances that I do not associate it with them.

By standing on a chair you could reach into the garret, a corn broom fathomed the depth of the cellar. It had no lock to the door, no curtain to the window, and belonged to nature nearly as much as to man.

It was a durable garment, an overcoat, he had contrived and left by Walden, convenient for shelter, sleep or meditation. Who knows what it is, what it does? If I am not quite right here, I am less wrong than before; and now let us see what they will have.

I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor do I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. The poll tax was actually a local tax but Thoreau believed it was a federal tax used to fund the Mexican-American war, which he opposed, and had stopped paying it in 1842 in protest.


Thoreau was jailed but was released the next day when an unidentified person came to the jail to pay his debt. This angered Thoreau because he had hoped to use the opportunity to raise awareness to his cause.

Nonetheless, he reluctantly left his jail cell. The experience later inspired Thoreau to write his essay Resistance to Civil Government, which was later renamed Civil Disobedience, in which he argues that it is sometimes necessary to disobey the law in order to protest unjust government actions.

Thoreau gave his Walden cabin to Emerson who then sold it to his gardener. A couple of years later, two farmers bought it and moved it to the other side of Concord to store grain in it.

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In 1868, the farmers dismantled the house for the lumber and put the roof on an outbuilding. Thoreau continued writing and, in 1849, published his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, which chronicled his boat trip to the White Mountains with his brother in 1839.

This prompted Thoreau to hold off on publishing Walden so he could revise it and avoid another failure, according to the Thoreau Society website: