He had many great qualities, but the most important were his devotion to nature and writing, his desire for independence, and his experiences he encountered throughout his life. Henry David Thoreau looked to nature as the basis of life and writing. He believed that nature is the reflection of inner spiritual reality. He spent his life in search of the essentials of reality and of experiences that would bring him close to these essentials. He lived in a hut for two years at Walden Pond to rid his body of inessential things. During Thoreau’s stay, he completed his first book itled, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers(1849).Order now
Here, he also filled his journals with materials for his most famous piece, Walden. After he left the hut, and after college, he became a literary apprentice by writing essays and poems and by helping edit the transcendentalist journal, The Dial. When success did not come, Thoreau remained dedicated to his program of “education” through intimacy with nature, and also through writing that would express this experience. It was his life in nature that was his great theme. In order for Thoreau to write so much on nature he had to be familiar with it.
His knowledge of the woods and fields, of the rivers, the ponds, and swamps, of every plant and animal was outstanding. Emerson even stated, “His power of observation seemed to indicate additional senses. ” Thoureau wrote a book titled Walden(1854) in which the theme of it was the relationship to the order and beauty of nature in the human mind. This book consists of records of Thoreau’s stay at Walden Pond. Thoreau’s love and devotion to nature and his writing was a key to his excellence in writing. Henry David Thoreau also felt that individualism was a great necessity to his writing style.
In his piece of literature titled “Civil Disobedience”, he expressed his belief in the power and the obligation of the individual to determine right from wrong, independent of the dictates of society. Thoreau’s friends agreed with his views, but few practiced it in their own lives as consistently as he. Thoreau demonstrated his idea of independence in many ways. He worked for pay intermittently, he made relationships with many of the towns outcasts, he never married, he signed off from the First Parish Church rather than be taxed automatically to support it every year, and he ived alone in the woods for two years, in seclusion.
His nearest neighbor was at least a mile away. While he was living independently in the woods, he thought of many new ideas for his literature. Thoreau even tried to encourage others to assert their individuality, each in his or her own way. He also believed that independent, well-considered actions arose naturally from a questing attitude of mind. He was first and foremost an explorer, of both the world around him and the world within him. In his most popular piece ever, Walden, he stated this: “Be a Columbus to hole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought,”(Walden, p. 21).
Also, Thoreau’s celebration of solitude was a natural outgrowth of his commitment to the idea of individual action. This following idea also brought up a point in Walden. “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready,”(Walden, pg. 72) Many of Thoreau’s ideas of individualism can be found as major statements in his writing. Thoreau came to much of his great literature due to the amount of experiences he had throughout his life. His major experience was living at Walden Pond for two years and learning about his own life and about the wonders of nature.
Thoreau even stated himself, “I learned this, at least, from experience. ” Here, he was talking about how he got all the information for his book Walden totally from experiences. Although Walden was only moderately successful in Thoreau’s lifetime, his experiment in the wilderness did spark interest in young people. The book inspired people to follow his example and go to a lonely spot and wonder the world and find their place in it. For many, Walden served as a touchstone. Thoreau said that he went to the pond to write a book in memory of his brother, John, who had died three years earlier.
Thoreau also stated, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived (Walden p. 90). At Walden Pond, Thoreau worked on A Week, but he also became attracted to the Walden Woods and began making observations in his journal of them. He also began collecting materials to write lectures. By the time he left Walden Pond, Thoreau had combined lectures and notes from his journal to compile into his first draft of his book A Week.
A Week was not very well excepted by the public though. After the failure of A Week, publishers postponed the publication of Walden. Eventually, Walden was published and was moderately successful, and it did make Thoreau popular. Walden consisted of the journal entries he had written. It also consisted of things he learned while he was in the woods. Walden also evolved from a sometimes shrill justification of Thoreau’s unordinary lifestyle into a complex account of a spiritual journey. Thoreau’s experiences were great attributes in his writing.
Henry David Thoreau was a wonderful writer. He had many excellent qualities, but the best and most important were his devotion to nature and his writing, his feeling of individualism, and his experiences that were used to make his literature more lifelike. He used nature as his main theme in his writing. He felt that independence would help him be a better writer. He also experienced many things in order to make his writing filled with imagery. Thoreau used all these elements in order to please the reader’s mind with his literature.