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Analyzing Henry David Thoreau's 'Reading'

Decent Essays
Sofia Altamura November 30th, 2015
Mrs. Grene AP English Language Set 5

Analysis of Chapter Three of Walden: “Reading”

How greatly do you value reading? For Henry David Thoreau, reading is an escape path in which people can find true fulfillment. In chapter three of Walden, Thoreau conveys the relevance of reading to the simplistic and naturalistic lifestyle portrayed throughout the essay by making use of themes such as immortality, through symbols such as mornings. Thoreau creates additional emphasis within a flowing and continuous tone by asking poetic rhetorical questions and using several strong words. By using these rhetorical strategies Thoreau is able to demonstrate his strong belief in the importance of reading
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His opinion that complex novels are better than simple ones is reflected in his writing style, which although is fluid, is also complex and challenging. This causes readers to carefully think about his words. By using elongated rhetorical questions Thoreau leads people to think about the importance of reading the finest novels, and the seemingly poetic tone he uses shows the beauty that a wise, focused, and hard-working intellectual could produce if he or she tried. An additional technique that is used is polysyndeton. Expressed in the majority of the sentences in chapter three, polysyndeton smoothly emphasizes the ideas in every sentence and makes readers focused. In addition, to show the importance of taking time to analyze classic novels, Thoreau uses impactful words such as “emulate” and “consecrate” when saying, “…he in some measure emulate their heroes and consecrate morning hours to their pages”. The strong effect of those words shows the importance of these novels and the dedication required to fully grasp their meaning. He also says that authors are a natural aristocracy, which shows the high regard he has for novels, and even says that books are “trophies in the forum of the world”. He thinks novels of importance are so universally valuable that they are synonymous to trophies. Nouns such as aristocracy and trophies stand out and help readers to realize the great worth that those traditional novels
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