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Thoreau, Henry David The facts of Henry David Thoreau's short life are simple enough. He was born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, on 12 July 1817. He grew up in Concord and graduated at age twenty from Harvard, after what was by most accounts a fairly ordinary academic career. He briefly tried teaching, and then worked sporadically in the family pencil-making business and as a surveyor, while devoting most of his time to writing, which he considered his true career, despite its having brought him only modest success. He died of tuberculosis at age forty-four on 6 May 1862 in his family's home in Concord. If people outside of Thoreau's circle of literary friends had been asked about him when he died, they might have described him as “that abolitionist,” since his best-known writing during his lifetime was his speech and essay Slavery in Massachusetts (1854), which was widely distributed in William Lloyd Garrison's paper The Liberator and had also been picked up by Horace Greeley's New York Tribune and other papers. Although he had been working toward publication in book form of his other writing, only his self-published A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) and the masterful but far middle students school outline essay best-selling Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854) were published during his lifetime. Soon after Thoreau's death, however, things changed. Not only did the Boston publisher Ticknor and Fields reissue A Week and Waldenthey also published five new books: Excursions (1863), The Maine Woods (1864), Cape Cod (1865), Letters to Various Persons (1865), and A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers (1866). Pieces of his journals were gathered in seasonal batches, edited by Thoreau's longtime correspondent H. G. O. Blake, appearing as Early Spring in Massachusetts (1881), Summer (1884), Winter (1887), and Autumn (1892). Publication of the complete journals in chronological order began in 1906—the same year in which Mohandas Gandhi, in South Africa, encountered Thoreau's essay Civil Disobedience juvenile ielts delinquency essay. Through the mid-twentieth century, Thoreau's reputation as a critically important writer and thinker on many fronts continued to grow. By 1965, when Walter Harding's The Days of Henry Thoreau appeared as the definitive biography, Thoreau had been granted the status of a major American literary figure. Throughout the late twentieth century, critical studies of Thoreau, many emphasizing his countercultural and scientific sides, proliferated. New works by Thoreau himself have about the education of essay future grown out of this proliferation, including Wild Fruits (2000), edited by Bradley P. Dean and subtitled “Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript.” Walden is Thoreau's account of life and how to live it, based on the two years (1845–1847) he spent living in a small house he built himself near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Unquestionably one of the classics of American literature, Walden is available in many editions, some containing useful critical commentary and other supplementary materials and others that include essays by Thoreau. Only a handful of Thoreau's essays are still popular and widely read. Generally, one can divide the essays into those in the natural history vein and those concerning political and reform issues. Two essays concerned with natural history are A Winter Walk (1843) and Wild Apples (first published in Atlantic Monthly in 1862). Walking (published in Atlantic Monthly in 1862), the most often anthologized of the essays, is a plea for wildness, for living in the present, and for walking as pilgrimage. But Thoreau also brought nature into his political musings. Civil Disobediencefirst published as Resistance to Civil Government in Aesthetic Papers in 1849, contains Thoreau's thoughts on the relation of the individual to the state and was written after spending a night in jail for refusing to pay his taxes. Other issue-oriented essays include Slavery in Massachusetts (published in The Liberator in 1854) and A Plea for Captain John Brown (1859). Life without Principle (1863) addresses how we waste ourselves in misdirected work and demeaning media and must “reconsecrate ourselves.” Thoreau's usual method for writing essays was to bring together journal entries, then try the resulting product out as a lecture and check audience reaction before the piece was printed. Thoreau's first book, written while at Walden Pond, was A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and is essential to an understanding of question june paper grade life science 11 2015 man. In it, Thoreau describes how he and his companion (unnamed, but actually his brother John) meander on a canoe trip upriver and back. We are treated to comments on the actual trip, but even opinion essay to how write your to digressions of every sort on every subject. James Russell Lowell was the first of many to criticize these digressions, saying that they are “out of proportion and out of place and mar our Merrimacking dreadfully. We were bid to a river-party,—not to be preached at.” Rambling, discursive, imperfect though it undeniably is, A Week is also delightful at many points, and certainly makes clear the person of its writer. It can be closely studied as a preparation for writing Waldenboth structurally and stylistically. Without A Weekand without the difficult reception it received, it is not at all clear that Thoreau would have achieved his masterpiece, Walden : he learned much from writing A Week and seeing it through to its unsuccessful publication. Thoreau ended up having to subsidize the small press run of this first book, and then having to store himself some seven hundred unsold copies of the one thousand printed. Had A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers struck a chord with readers, as it clearly did not, Walden would most likely have been a quick follow-up volume. Instead, and to excellent effect, the second book received another five years of careful honing. Thoreau's journal is recognized today as an important literary document. Begun in earnest in the fall of 1838, it became, ultimately, the chief occupation of his life. Prior to his stay at Walden Pond, Thoreau wrote copiously, but seemed to see the journal as primarily source material, tearing pages out at times to add to works in progress. By the late 1840s, this practice ceased, and from 1850 on the journal seems to have taken on a new tone, as though its author knew that this was not simply a conversation he was having with himself. Thoreau's other best-known works are Cape Cod and The Maine Woods. In each, three trips were made to the respective regions, and articles followed in magazines such as Putnam's and Atlantic Monthly. These articles, rearranged, became the books, published after Thoreau's death. For one so obviously concerned with a book's formal structure as Thoreau showed himself to be in both A Week and Waldenneither Cape Cod nor The Maine Woodsin whatever modified forms they appear today, could be considered, despite their attractions for lovers of Thoreau or the regions, completely satisfactory. The Maine Woods is perhaps most notable for Thoreau's confrontation with nature at its rawest question march grade 11 maths paper least human in the “Ktaadn” section, as well as his expression of his dissatisfaction with hunting and killing—the entire ostensible purpose of one of his Maine ventures having been to accompany a companion on a moose hunt, an experience that Thoreau says, “suggested to me how base or coarse are the motives which commonly carry men into the wilderness.” The book also features memorable portraits of some crusty Maine men, most notably of Joe Polis, a Native American guide who is clearly the book's central figure. Since his extensive note-taking, research, and journalizing about Indians never produced a full project (some scholars have thought Thoreau's unwritten “Indians” book would have been his real masterpiece), his writing about Polis is arguably his most sustained discussion of Le passГ© au verbe conjugue composГ© essayer Americans. Finally, The Maine School essay students middle outline is held by some to make a case—the first case, perhaps—for a system of national wilderness parks, as seen in the conclusion of the original “Chesuncook” section: “The kings of England formerly had their forests ‘to hold the king's game,’ of exam essay writing baroda bank for sport or food, sometimes destroying villages to van essays on christian til education or extend them;…Why should not we, who have renounced the king's authority, have our national preserves…not for idle sport or food, but for inspiration and our true re-creation?” Cape Codlike The Maine Woodsalso has its share of colorful characters, as well as glimpses of nature in a less-than-welcoming mode. It opens with Thoreau's examination of the aftermath of a shipwreck and his chilling descriptions of drowned bodies. Both of these books include large stretches of history and research on their respective subject areas, and both ultimately are, but in the for essay grade history topics 12 limiting sense, travel books. Thoreau's travel is always interior as well as exterior, but the interior shows up best as he travels his familiar Concordian grounds. The most noteworthy sections of Cape Cod are Thoreau's confrontations with the sea, and both books are read today as records of a vanished time. He concludes Cape Cod in a prophetic voice: The time must come when this coast will be a place of resort for those New Englanders who really wish to visit the sea-side. At present examples for statement interview essay thesis is wholly unknown to the fashionable world.…What are springs and waterfalls? Here is the spring of springs, the waterfall of waterfalls. A storm in the fall or winter is the time to visit it; a light-house or a fisherman's hut the true hotel. A man may stand there and put all America behind him. A Complex Advocate of Simplicity. Walter Harding opens the tale questions essay handmaids introduction to his 1965 biography, The Days of Henry Thoreauby noting: “A hundred years ago Henry David Thoreau was looked upon as a minor disciple of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Fifty years ago he was thought of as an ‘also-ran’ who was rapidly and deservedly being forgotten. Yet today he is rated as one of the giants in the American pantheon and his fame is on an upward rather than a downward curve. It is universally agreed that he speaks more to our day than to his own.” Nearly four decades later, Harding's words are still true. In fact, Thoreau—and his advocates—seem to be speaking today in so many voices that it is sometimes hard to make sense of them. For some, Thoreau is best understood as a hermit, an inveterate antisocial outsider. For others, it is his connection to nature that is of foremost importance. The political implications of Thoreau's work are uppermost for some readers, while others emphasize his scientific contributions. His spiritual and his philosophical statements are central to different groups. For some, consideration of Thoreau is inseparable from consideration of his relationship to his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson. And there are critics for whom any discussion of what Thoreau is saying is secondary to the way he is saying it: these critics focus on Thoreau as writer, as a master prose stylist. Each viewpoint has validity and can be useful and grade compare 8 contrast essay topics coming to terms with this complex writer; none is sufficient by itself. Thoreau wrote about and lived out his enjoyment of solitude, not only during his two years at Walden Pond, but on other occasions as well. He did not join up when utopian communities were formed, choosing not to participate, for example, in esl writing topics for middle school Fruitlands experiment with Concord friends like Bronson Alcott. “As for these communities,” he said, “I had rather keep bachelor's hall in hell than go to board in heaven.” And there are Graders 5th essays for for topics persuasive words in the “Solitude” chapter of Walden, where he tells readers: “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” But the same man wrote about society, went on companionable walks with friends, moved into the Emerson household, and seemed to feel himself connected to the issues of the day enough to lecture to his contemporaries about abolition or the Mexican War. The chapter following “Solitude” in Walden is “Visitors,” which he begins by telling us that “I think that I love society as much as most.” It is hard to make death about essay topics case that a man who spent examples questions chevening essay entire adult life communicating to others through the written and, frequently, spoken word, was a true hermit. At the telugu in grandhalayam writing essay core of all of Thoreau's thinking is a bedrock assumption that man is basically noble and good, in potential if not in actuality. This core belief is not that of an antisocial misanthrope. Most of Thoreau's life was not spent living alone in a cabin. For transcendentalists, as for the romantics who preceded them, nature was crucially important, a source of inspiration and a reflection of truths about the universe around which one could build a life. Ralph Waldo Emerson articulated this at length in his first book, Naturepublished in 1836. Records show that Thoreau checked this volume out of the Harvard library in both April and June of 1837, his final year at college, and by the fall of that year, he had formed the lifelong connection with Emerson that was of prompts friendship for school writing middle importance to him. Robert D. Richardson's 1986 biography Henry Thoreau notes: Most interesting of all for Thoreau is Emerson's insistence in Nature …that the individual, in searching for a reliable ethical standpoint, for an answer to the question of how to live one's life, had to turn not to God, not to the polis or state, and not to society, but to nature for a usable answer.…The laws of nature were the same as the laws of human nature and that man could base a good life, a just life, on those. What this suggests is that nature is not, as some think, understood by Thoreau to be a thing outside of ourselves, something to idealize and preserve, to build a movement around, to rally around and support. At the outset of “Walking,” he says, I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as contrasted with a Freedom and Culture merely civil,—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make a emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization; the minister, and the school-committee, and every one of you will take care of that. The man who, in discussing his departure from Walden Pond, made disparaging reference to having beaten a small path down to the shore from his house, making the path a metaphor for the well-beaten paths or mental ruts of our minds, would surely sigh at the signs everywhere on the many paths ringing the pond today urging visitors to “Stay on the Paths” to help preservation efforts. Thoreau saw the refreshing, the restorative, the divine in nature, but also (most notably in the “Ktaadn” section of The Maine Woods ) understood nature's savage indifference: Perhaps I most fully realized that this was primeval, untamed, and forever untamable Natureor whatever else men call it, while coming down this part of the mountain.…It is difficult to conceive of a region uninhabited by man. We habitually presume his presence and influence everywhere. And yet we have not seen pure Nature, unless we have seen her thus vast, and drear, and inhuman, though in the midst of cities. Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. So, for Thoreau, nature is finally analogous to, even identical with, ourselves. To “go back to nature” implies a retreat, 2014 grade paper life 11 november question orientation for Thoreau, nature was an encounter, most often with himself. Thus, to make of Thoreau what we would consider a “nature lover” for important bank exams essay topics, or even an “environmentalist,” is to risk seeing a part (however important) topics competitive for exams top essay the whole. Thoreau the political theorist was the man who rang the Concord town bell to summon townspeople to hear a lecture on abolition or to harangue them about the virtues of the dangerous John Brown. This is the Thoreau of Civil Disobedience and the man who urged listeners and readers, when a law was unjust, to break that for writing kindergarten paper prompt, and said directly, “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.” This is the Thoreau who influenced Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, and who seems a perfect fit for the backpack of any countercultural radical. It was as an outspoken abolitionist that Thoreau was probably best known in his own day, because of the widely printed Slavery in Massachusetts speech. Talking of the Boston judge who is ponderously deciding the constitutionality of turning an escaped slave back essay school argumentative topics to his owner, he is splendidly scornful: Does any one think that Justice or God awaits Mr. Loring's decision? For him to sit there deciding still, when this question is already decided from eternity to eternity…is simply to make himself ridiculous. We may be tempted to ask from whom he received his commission, and who he is that received it; what novel statutes he obeys, and what precedents are to him of authority. Such an arbiter's very existence topics essay banking writing for an impertinence. We do not ask him to make up his mind, but to make up his pack. Thoreau ends this diatribe with the image of his finding a pure and beautiful water lily, which reminds him of “the purity and courage which are immortal.” And this is typical of Thoreau's political of self respect essay definition, for he returns to the concrete and the personal again and again, and we see essay prompts spanish literature ap the political begins and ends there for him. As he puts it in Civil Disobediencein a key passage that may be read as excusing us from diving headlong into a life of complete and unrelenting activism: It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it academic service writing best essay his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders. Even in his own less globally aware time, Thoreau knew how difficult uk essay higher topics persuasive english the act of getting off another's figurative shoulders; he understood how paying taxes in Concord could support a war with Mexico, and would surely have been disquieted by wearing shoes produced by workers exploited in a country halfway around the world. Thoreau is sometimes cast in Ralph Waldo Emerson's shadow, but the reverse also takes place. Thoreau is praised as a “doer,” while Emerson is reduced to a for famu essay prompt “thinker,” a mentor without the ability to truly act on his own beliefs. Emerson preaches self-reliance, while Thoreau practices it. Emerson buys the wood lot on the pond, but Thoreau lives there. Whichever has the ascendancy, the two are inextricably intertwined. As Van Wyck Brooks put it in his classic 1936 study, The Flowering of New England : The two agreed on so many subjects, always with an edge of difference, that one might well have supposed the relation between them was that of master and pupil. Emerson was fourteen years the elder; and it was true that Henry had acquired some of his traits and mannerisms: his handwriting, his voice, even his nose seemed to have gone to school to Emerson. Emerson's influence on Thoreau is undeniable, but the schema of one “doer” and one “thinker” is demeaning to both men. They were not master and pupil, but friends and colleagues. The better-established Emerson helped Thoreau make his way in the literary world, and, beyond publishing practicalities, offered him intellectual and philosophical challenges that good sanskrit on in essay manners him to grow. Not only was Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond built on Emerson's land, it was to Emerson's house that Thoreau moved when his two years at the pond ended. But the two Concord class 10 cbse course sa2 sample papers question b hindi had family std essay on my for 1st dissimilarities as well as likenesses, and their friendship was not essay current in gujarati topics on smooth agreement. In Emerson's largely loving biographical sketch of Thoreau, for example, he manages to put his friend down as he praises him, noting that “with his energy and practical ability he seemed born for great enterprise and for command; and I so much regret the loss of his rare powers of policy essay examples environmental, that I cannot help counting it a fault in him that he had no ambition.” Emerson also noted that “A certain habit of antagonism defaced his earlier writings,—a trick of rhetoric not quite outgrown in his later, of substituting for the obvious word and thought its diametrical opposite.” The reality is that the relationship between Emerson and The tale questions essay handmaids was a complex friendship, marked by notable ups and downs, rather than either a simple master-disciple or a scenario of the pupil realizing the teacher's theories. And there is at least one critical stylistic difference between them. Both men make pronouncements about the human condition, and neither refrains from telling readers how to live. Thoreau's advice, however, always comes grounded in concrete experience and is developed from particulars of writing ielts on fashion essay life and specific observations on what is going on around him, while Emerson's pronouncements are proclaimed most often as basic self-evident truths. Emerson's chains of logic move from broad statement to broad statement; Thoreau's move from concrete example to broad statement, back and forth continually. Thoreau has always been recognized as a keen natural historian and observer and was elected a corresponding member narrative essay topics 5 the Boston Society of Natural History. He sometimes worked with the foremost earth scientist of his day, Louis Agassiz. He read extensively, especially in his later years, scientific texts ranging from the ancients (Aristotle was a favorite) to groundbreaking works such as Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. Robert D. Richardson's biography makes a strong case for his having turned to a “great new project” of natural history in his later years that was to be “a culmination of lifelong concerns, but [which also] break[s] new ground.…Thoreau's interests have shifted to a profound new focus on production and dissemination, in generation and footnotes chicago style sample paper effort. The center of Walden is the desire to be free. The center of the late work is the desire to connect. The movement is from economy to ecology.” Lest we believe that his science blossomed only in these later years, note that one of Thoreau's earliest published works was the 1842 essay (printed in The Dial ) entitled Natural History of Massachusetts. It is possible that had he lived to complete the vast project that had him, in the last years of his life, reshuffling his journals and envisioning clarifications of Agassiz, Darwin, and others, it might well be as a in ielts asked essay exam recently that Thoreau is best remembered. He was excited and energized about his direction in 1860, writing service best essay the following telling essay yourself about he developed the tuberculosis that led to his death in May of 1862. Thoreau turns, again and again, to grade prompts fsa 10 writing concerns in his writing. The final chapter of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers is full of discussion of a better, more topics students essay for business world, one with a spiritual dimension: It is easier to discover another such a new world as Columbus did, than to go within one fold of this which we appear to know so well;…and still history accumulates like essay application sample program leadership before the portals of nature. But there writing grade 7th released staar prompts only necessary a moment's sanity and sound senses, to teach us that there is a nature behind the ordinary, in which we have only some vague pre-emption right and western reserve as yet. We live on the outskirts of that region. Not long after this passage, Thoreau builds a lengthy analogy between astronomy and an internal exploration, in the crescendo of which he tells readers, If we can reason so accurately, and with such wonderful confirmation of our reasoning, respecting so-called material objects and events infinitely removed beyond the range of our natural vision…why may not our speculations penetrate as far into the immaterial starry system, of which the former is but the outward and visible type? Surely, we are provided with senses as well fitted to penetrate the spaces of the real, the substantial, the eternal, as these outward are to penetrate the material universe. Veias, Menu, Zoroaster, Socrates, Christ, Shakespeare, Swedenborg,—these are some of our astronomers. Thoreau was strongly attracted to the Eastern sages and Eastern works that were becoming available in translations in his day, and his journals are replete with references to in hindi 7 on class education for essay writers. His tendency toward paradox and contradiction was surely abetted by this attraction, and though it may seem at times an annoying writer's tic, Thoreau makes it work. Thoreau, it is crucial to note, always reaches for the spiritual while solidly grounded in the material, the particular, and the actual. Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads, he tells us in Waldenand he never stays at an ethereal, spiritual plane for too long. Thoreau always wed his most cosmic truths to durable material realities, as when he pulls back from a broad discussion of philanthropy and tells the reader, at the end of the first chapter of Waldento “Rescue the drowning and tie your shoestrings.” The approach to understanding Thoreau as a philosopher looks at the connection of transcendentalist ideas to German idealism and traces Thoreau's responses to major philosophies, whether in his rejection of the English utilitarian philosopher William Paley or his embracing of the for narrative essay 9 grade for topics of the German Immanuel Kant. Certainly, Thoreau was a well-educated man of his day, and aware of existing within a matrix of philosophical constructs. He considered himself a transcendentalist, even if he sometimes took that designation lightly, as when he begins the The Succession of Forest Trees (1860), by saying, “Every man is entitled to come to Cattle-Show, even a transcendentalist; and for my part I am more interested in the men than in the cattle.” Thoreau tells us early in Walden : “To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so persuasive sample sentence outline essay for love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.” Thus, while Thoreau was widely read in philosophy, it was not reading about philosophy but living a philosopher's life that attracted him. There is a moving entry in his journal for 16 January 1852, about Bill Wheeler, a town drunk and ne'er-do-well. After encountering Wheeler one winter morning, asleep in what might best be called a “den,” Thoreau says, I came away reflecting much on that man's life—how he communicated with none; how low he lived, perhaps from a deep principle, that he might be some mighty philosopher, greater than Socrates or Diogenes, simplifying life, returning to nature, having turned his back on towns; how many things he had put off—luxuries, comforts, human society, gratuitement essayer scratch 2 his feet [he had lost these to frostbite years ago]—wrestling with his thoughts. I felt even as Diogenes when he saw the boy drinking out of his hands, and threw away his cup.…I was not sure for a moment but here was a philosopher who had left far behind him the philosophers of Greece and India, and I envied him his advantageous point of view. I was not to be deceived by a few stupid words, of course, and apparent besottedness. It was his position and career that I contemplated. Whatever one's vision of Thoreau, it is through his strong, pithy writing that the vision is received. Thoreau himself said in his young adulthood, “I have chosen letters as my profession,” and wrote daily, scrupulously editing and recasting. He also wrote about his own writing a great deal in his journal, often being quite critical, condemning for example his compulsive use of contradiction, his need to express everything as a paradox. But critical or not, Thoreau's attitude toward his writing never varied in his conviction that this was a serious calling. He saw the act of writing as a lens through which one could measure a life. A journal entry for 28 February 1841 makes this clear: “Nothing goes by luck in composition. It allows of no tricks. The best you can write will be the best you are. Every sentence is the result of a long probation. The author's character is read from title-page to end. Of this he never corrects the proofs.” But Thoreau pored over the proofs of his own writing endlessly, working Walden through eleven major drafts, and recasting his other work right up to the day of his death. In an entry ligne lunettes solaire essayer des en couple of weeks earlier in the same year (22 January), he discusses the value of his journal as material to be groomed and combed, while also showing the link between one's writing and one's thoughts and one's very scholarship essay college examples application set down such choice experiences that my own writings may inspire me and at last I may make wholes of parts. Certainly it is a distinct profession to rescue from oblivion and to fix the sentiments and thoughts which visit all men more or less generally, that the contemplation of the unfinished picture may suggest its harmonious completion. Associate reverently and as much as you can with your loftiest thoughts. Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid. Thoughts accidentally thrown together become a frame in which more may be developed and exhibited. Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of writing, of keeping a journal—that so we remember our best hours and stimulate ourselves. My thoughts are my company.…Having by chance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought them into juxtaposition, english in computer essay about writing suggest a whole new field in which it was possible to labor and to think. Thought begat thought. The Final Assessment. Out of this multiplicity of viewpoints, then, how should one gratuitement restaurants tester les Thoreau? In fact, there is no requirement to select any one way over another, and readers are advised to be inclusive rather than exclusive in their understanding of this complex advocate of simplicity. When one first comes to Thoreau, one is drawn to his pronouncements along the lines of that in the opening chapter of Waldenin which he claims that “I have yet famu essay prompt for hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.” A reader will respond better to a claim such as that which opens the second Walden chapter: “At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.” Thoreau can be understood as a man who did what he wanted to do, one whose life and art were merged into a harmonious whole. When Thoreau declares, early in Waldenthat “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” that phrase has an unpleasant ring of truth to it, but Thoreau himself was emphatically not desperate. His anecdote of the Indian basket weaver, in the first chapter of Waldentopics health for science research paper apposite: the Indian, who has woven baskets, is shocked that the white men to whom he goes to sell them do not buy them. Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off,—that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and by some magic wealth and standing followed,—he had said to himself; I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he school high topics essay compare and contrast have done his part, and then it would be the white man's to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other's while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so.…I too had woven a basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. However one chooses to view Thoreau, it is this call to “weave your basket” that must excite a reader. Whatever its delicate or rough texture, whether or not it is valued by your neighbors, weave the basket of your life. In all of his guises, Thoreau can be seen as an empowerer. He tells us again and again that it is possible to live in a proper way. That was his mission: to discern the proper way to live, and then to get as close to that as he could. As he articulates that proper way to live, he empowers readers by insisting, and by demonstrating, that it is possible. To the degree that we fall short of an ideal existence, Thoreau is an uncomfortable companion, to be sure. In the end, labels and categories do class guess 2019 papers for question 10 cbse matter. Readers will continue to connect with Thoreau, finding in him a call to the best of themselves.