Contributions Of Henry David Thoreau

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Henry David Thoreau was greatly influenced by his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a philosopher and prominent Transcendentalist. Thoreau worked as a caretaker on Emerson’s property during the 1840s. For two years, Thoreau lived in a cabin on Emerson’s property at Walden Pond. There, he wrote the 1854 collection of essays: Walden; or, Life in the Woods. A meaningful and significant quotation from the essay “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” explains Thoreau’s reasoning behind the decision to live at Walden Pond: “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” (74). Throughout Walden, Thoreau imparts the idea that the independence and self-reliance gained by living simply in nature allow a person to realize innate human tendencies, and in doing so, improve his or her quality of life. Thoreau’s messages can also be applied to today’s world of perpetually increasing access to the ideas and opinions of others through the internet and social media. Thoreau explains the importance of solitude in Walden. Living in nature away from society, much like Thoreau did at Walden Pond, gives a person the opportunity to become self-reliant. This concept of self-reliance is one that was often described and evaluated by Thoreau’s mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his essay Self-Reliance, Emerson states, “Do your work, and I shall
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