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by Henry David Thoreau

Walden Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Essay.Paragraph)

Quote #4

What right had I to oust johnswort and the rest, and break up their ancient herb garden? (Bean-Field.1)

Thoreau is hesitant about gardening. In order to clear ground for his fields, he has to uproot the native plant species of the area. (Yes, johnswort = St. John's wort. You've probably seen the commercials.) Once again, people are making a living off of the natural world that Thoreau loves.

Quote #5

There have been caught in Walden, pickerel, one weighing seven pounds, to say nothing of another which carried off a reel with great velocity […] perch, and pouts, some of each weighing over two pounds, shiners, chivins, or roach, (Leuciscus puchellus,) a very few breams, (Pomotis obesus,) one trout weighing a little over five pounds (Ponds.14)

Walden contains some meticulous documenting of all the different species that live in the area. Thoreau often takes on a naturalist's scientific tone, as here, where he cites the genus and species of the fish. Don't worry, though, these scientific moments are mixed up with more poetic or literary moments, making Walden a rather varied read.

Quote #6

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. (Ponds.16)

By personifying nature, Thoreau can more easily show how it can be a source of inspiration and enlightenment. Naturally, we relate more easily to things like us, so giving nature some human characteristics allows us to better understand it.

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