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Essay Summary of Thoreau

Decent Essays
Synopsis Economy: This is the first chapter and also the longest by far. Thoreau begins by outlining his project: a two-year and two-month stay at a crude cabin in the woods near Walden Pond. He does this, he says, in order to illustrate the spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle. He easily supplies the four necessities of life (food, shelter, clothing, and fuel). He meticulously records his expenditures and earnings, demonstrating his understanding of "economy," as he builds his house and buys and grows food. For a home and freedom, he spends a mere $25. Complementary Verses: This chapter consists entirely of a poem, "The Pretensions of Poverty," by seventeenth-century English poet Thomas Carew. The poem criticizes those who…show more content…
To him, the railroad symbolizes the destruction of the good old pastoral way of life. Following is a description of the sounds audible from his cabin: the church bells ringing, carriages rattling and rumbling, cows lowing, whip-poor-wills singing, owls hooting, frogs croaking, and cockerels crowing. Solitude: Thoreau rhapsodizes about the beneficial effects of living solitary and close to nature. He loves to be alone, for "I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude," and he is never lonely as long as he is close to nature. He believes there is no great value to be had by rubbing shoulders with the mass of humanity. Visitors: Thoreau writes about the visitors to his cabin. Among the 25 or 30 visitors is a young Canadian woodchopper, whom Thoreau idealizes as approaching the ideal man, and a runaway slave, whom Thoreau helps on his journey to freedom in Canada. The Bean-Field: Thoreau relates his efforts to cultivate two and a half acres of beans. He plants in June and spends his summer mornings weeding the field with a hoe. He sells most of the crop, and his small profit of $8.71 covers his needs. The Village: Thoreau visits the small town of Concord every day or two to hear the news, which he finds "as refreshing in its way as the rustle of the leaves." Nevertheless, he fondly but rather contemptuously compares Concord to a gopher colony. In late summer, he is arrested for refusing to pay
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