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    Society Moves Too Quickly and Is Too Busy According to Henry David Thoreau

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    According to Henry David Thoreau, society moves too quickly and is too busy. The speaker of the story identifies himself as one who enjoys the more simple things in life, such as nature. He feels that general civilization does not take the time to slow down and enjoy life. This is the reason he moves into the woods, to live life at his own pace. This allows him to take in little pleasures in life such as bathing, Thoreau writes, “I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise and one of the best things which I did” (5). This gives an example of the speaker enjoying small pieces of life and the world’s enormous puzzle.

    Thoreau connects to Edgar Allen Poe through their disappointment in society. They express this in very different ways, but both are attempts to solve the faults in life. Poe does this by expressing what is wrong with society in dismal terms, this is showing people what to fix but gives no instruction on the way to fix those problems. Thoreau does the opposite, he shows how to repair these troubles, but leaves what the troubles are to be determined. Both Poe and Thoreau are trying to rectify societal problems.

    Another factor that brings Poe and Thoreau together is isolation. They represent opposite ends of the spectrum, Poe being negative and Thoreau being positive. Poe writes about isolation as if it is the bane of his existence and, ironically, his only constant companion. Thoreau writes about isolation as if it is his savior. Without isolation he would not be able to live the life that he desires and can only live by him, a slow life. For example Thoreau writes, “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” (6) this is an example of the speaker taking advantage of isolation. He uses his reclusiveness to help learn about life itself. This shows that emotions are often relative. While isolation may terrify one person it may give another immense happiness. Every person can react to ideas and emotions differently.

    Throughout the story Thoreau references imagination which he talks about in a very positive light. He refers to it as if it is a window into an alternate reality in which everything fits and functions perfectly. To the speaker, imagination is the embodiment of perfection, therefore imagining is the strive for perfection. For example, Thoreau writes, “My imagination carried me so far I even had the refusal of several farms” (1) this shows that even when things can be bad imagination can still be positive. In the mind of Thoreau, reality is a warped version of imagination, not the other way around. Reality is imperfect which implies damage; imagination is, to Thoreau, perfection. This shows that the speaker believes that imagination may have come before reality and is an optimal version of the existence that is being described by Thoreau.

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    Society Moves Too Quickly and Is Too Busy According to Henry David Thoreau. (2022, Dec 13). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/society-moves-too-quickly-and-is-too-busy-according-to-henry-david-thoreau/

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