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Blink 3 of 8 - The 5 AM Club
by Robin Sharma
Henry David Thoreau by Laura Dassow Walls tells the captivating story of the iconic American writer, revealing his deep connection with nature and his philosophy of simplicity, independence, and self-reliance.
In Henry David Thoreau, Laura Dassow Walls allows us to delve deep into the life and musings of Thoreau. The early chapters of the book focus primarily on Thoreau's family life and upbringing in Concord, Massachusetts, his education at Harvard University, and his subsequent return to his hometown. Struggling to find a place in the world of work and commercial success, Thoreau soon finds solace in nature, exploring the woods and rivers surrounding Concord.
During this time, Thoreau also cultivates an essential friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, with both sharing mutual philosophical beliefs. Emerson introduces Thoreau to the ideals of Transcendentalism — a philosophical movement with a strong emphasis on individuality and self-reliance. The influence of Transcendentalism becomes a driving force in Thoreau's life, propelling his literary works, environmental activism, and abolitionist views.
In the midsection of Henry David Thoreau, Walls takes us through Thoreau's experiment with simple living at Walden Pond. Driven by a desire to live deliberately and authentically, Thoreau forks away from society's norms to live a minimalist life in a cabin built on Emerson's land by the edge of the pond. He spends his time there in deep reflection, observing nature, writing, and indulging in simple chores. This period births his well-known work Walden, a meditative reflection on solitude, nature, and the significance of living an uncomplicated life.
His experiment at Walden Pond also instigates his critical views on the institution of slavery. Unable to align with a society that tolerated this grave injustice, Thoreau vocalizes his opposition. His essay 'Civil Disobedience' addresses this sentiment, asserting an individual's right to oppose an unjust government, an idea that would resonate with later civil rights leaders.
As Henry David Thoreau progresses, we see Thoreau's spiritual connection to nature deepening. His prolonged observations of the landscapes and wildlife around Concord blossom into a poetic understanding of natural science. He walks extensively, recounts meticulous observations on plant and animal species, and records his findings in journals. His inherent desire to know nature intimately transcends the physical to a more spiritual depth. He sees nature as a reflection of the divine, advocating that humans should live cohesively with it, not against it.
This perspective marks Thoreau as a pioneer of the environmental movement. While most during his period exploit nature for their gain, Thoreau sees its significance beyond human needs. His works inspire the foundations of the conservation movement and later environmental ethics. It establishes Thoreau as more than a recluse loving nature but a prophet of environmental awareness.
The latter part of Henry David Thoreau covers Thoreau's life after leaving Walden Pond and his continued pursuit of natural science until death cuts short his endeavors. His health declines, and so too his ability to continue his lengthy nature walks. Regardless, he continues to record his observations and writes until his death in 1862.
In conclusion, Henry David Thoreau is not just a biography but a deeply insightful account of a man's life that sparked a significant change in how we view our relationship with nature. Unraveling the nuances of Thoreau's life, Laura Dassow Walls delivers an in-depth understanding of the philosophy, activism, and creative genius that spurs on this enduring legacy. Thoreau, Walls shows, is not just a writer, a philosopher, or a naturalist, but a truly multifaceted figure who continues to inspire generations to question, to simplify, and to appreciate the natural world’s intrinsic value.
'Henry David Thoreau' by Laura Dassow Walls is a comprehensive biography that delves into the life and philosophy of the renowned American author and naturalist. Walls explores Thoreau's time at Walden Pond, his deep connection to nature, and his influential works such as 'Walden' and 'Civil Disobedience'. The book provides valuable insights into Thoreau's beliefs and his impact on literature and environmentalism.
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Blink 3 of 8 - The 5 AM Club
by Robin Sharma