Part of my lit. studies included reading ” Walking ” from Henri David Thoreau, Which was hard to read
as it’s heavy philosophy, then write a resumé on it which I’d like to share with you.
I nevertheless was introduced that way, to quality writing and the classics which turned me into a big fan!
I found his chain of thoughts to be so rich, one could read it over and over again without tiring and
experience different emotions every time.
Every line has to be studied. One can, through this essay learn and cultivate the love for words.
It’s intellectually stimulating and challenging.
It’s no wonder it was part of the curriculum, I’m truly glad to have been given this opportunity to
discover such an outstanding writer.
I hope you’ll enjoy it, let me know!
Henry D. Thoreau starts his essay ” Walking ” with the simple wish to be, nature’s advocate, with the
controversial idea that man is alone with it and not part of an entity.
While he’s walking he observes, reflects and ruminates profoundly on many aspect of nature and fundamental
Walking for Thoreau is more than that. It’s an exercise of the brain. It stimulates his intellect. It’s where
he digs out all the material needed for his profession. Walking for him, is what an airplane is for an aviator
or, an arrow for a bushman.
It has given him the possibility to produce the most exquisite piece of poetry called ” The Malborough Road. ”
Being confined to an office would’ve never given him that possibility.
Along the essay we find him, broaching a wide range of subjects.
He starts with the actual directions he prefers and why. Southwest or eastward, goes on to the botanists, panoramas
with a detailed geographical description, which he is not presently experiencing but reminiscing.
That’s how we understand his Essay to be ” a walk through his imagination “.
As he goes on, he writes about animals. it is very descriptive and poetical. He glorifies the things others take for
granted. He comes to know along the way, that nature is above all. It’s the kernel, it’s vital for our survival.
We should be blending, melting, into nature and not vice versa. The core is mother nature and we are its servants.
Nature, under his ballpoint ( or more likely, his quill pen in those days 🙂 ) takes another dimension.
One can feel and sense it being practically a religion, so intense it is. One falls in love with nature all over again and would like to immerse oneself in it and find the tranquility and beauty felt in the reading.
In, what I call, the ninth part ( we’ve been asked to break it up into major parts ) he brings up, literature. One can observe how he
” provokes ” the reader into controversial ideas once again. That is, what makes it his style, his signature.
It forces its readers admiration, for such strong and idealistic views.
There is not a thing, he doesn’t have an opinion on.
Should it be, music which he airs briefly, names which is another amazing piece of this brilliant essay, where he describes
the ” un-importance ” of it, which again is contrary to all received ideas.
Institutions, culture, studies… You name it.
He triggers people’s minds into thinking. He ” stings ” them out of their complacent torpor, with,
” Give me a culture which imports much muck from the meadows… ” and further ” I would not have every man nor every part of a man cultivated…”
When he proceeds later on to write about knowledge and ignorance, once more we find him spurring us on, to ideas as ” useful
ignorance ” and ” conceit in knowledge ” then humors us farther with,
” I would say to the society for the diffusion of useful knowledge, sometimes, — Go to grass. ”
Laws and obedience seems disdained when he says ” There’s is something SERVILE in the habit of seeking after a law which we may obey. ”
Then, we understand it was intended purposefully when he adds ” Live free, child of the mist — and with respect to knowledge we are
all children of the mist. ”
He then shocks us into ” The man who takes the liberty to live is superior to all laws… ”
Borders and earth are his last two topics where he finishes his essay in total splendor and grandness.
Check for yourselves and let me know!
Till next time!