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by Henry David Thoreau

Walden Conclusion Summary

  • Thoreau begins his conclusion by explaining that you don't have to go exploring distant lands when you yourself are an undiscovered country that you can discover through thought. It's abstract, but he kind of has a point.
  • Why the stink did he leave, then? Well, Thoreau wonders that himself. He guesses that he wanted to discover other ways of living, even though he knows that he doesn't want to live in the "ruts of tradition and conformity." He's learned from his personal experience that the more you simplify your own life, the clearer you can see the universal laws of life, common to everyone.
  • Thoreau takes this moment to defend his writing style. He doesn't understand why everyone wants a certain kind of plain, common-sensical writing. If everybody is unique, why can't there be equally unique styles? Amen, brother!
  • Thoreau once again champions (argues for) uniqueness over worldly success.
  • As an example, Thoreau relates the story of an artist from the city of Kouroo, who discovered that ages had passed while he was carving the perfect staff.
  • Again (and again and again), Thoreau champions truth and simplicity. He doesn't think we should be so quick to modernize everything, when we still have to learn to slow down and understand ourselves. He probably wouldn't have invested in Google.
  • For one last anecdote, Thoreau tells the story of an insect that hatched from an egg that had been buried in the wood of a farmer's table for years. How's that for slowing down?
  • And finally, in one last attempt to get through to us, Thoreau ends with an appeal to all of us to just wake up.

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