Henry David Thoreau Essay

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Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was a man who expressed his beliefs of society, government, and mankind while living under his own self-criticism. Thoreau believed he had many weaknesses which made him a failure. This strong disapproval of himself contrasted with his powerful words and strong actions. These contradictions led to some of Thoreau's greatest pieces of literature.
Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July 12, 1817, in his grandmother's house. Thoreau believed that Concord was, "the most estimable place in all the world, and in the very nick of time, too" (Harding 4). Though Thoreau was born in
"the era of good feeling," his family experienced many misfortunes, politically, physically,
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That sweet solitude my spirit seemed so early to require at once gave the preference to this recess among the pines, where almost sunshine and shadow were the only inhabitants that varied the scene, over the tumultuous and varied city, as if it had found its proper nursery" (13-14). It is apparent that Thoreau associates Walden Pond with his happiest memories.
Thoreau was a deeply religious man, but disliked church. He was very serious as a child and loved his solitude (Schneider 4). Thoreau says he was truly happiest when he could be by himself (25). In 1828, Thoreau and his older brother John, to whom he was closest, went to Concord Academy. Henry was the smarter of the two and in 1833, was sent to
Harvard University, where he did very well. It was there that Thoreau was first exposed to writing publicly when the Editor of the Dial, which is a periodical for a transcendentalist group, gave him a job. In 1837, Thoreau graduated form Harvard and this is where he first heard Ralph Waldo Emerson speak. It was at this time that he began writing his journal.
He started teaching in Concord's Center School for a brief period of two weeks. Thoreau was told to enforce corporate punishment in the classroom and he resigned. He ended up working in his father's pencil factory where he improved American pencils. He did this by improving the method of mixing graphite which he discovered by researching the
European

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