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Walden

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. (Where I Lived.22)

Thoreau tells us he went to the woods to "live deliberately," and this quote explains that Nature itself can provide a model for how to do just that.

Quote #2

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry, philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality (Where I Lived.22)

Natural metaphors are everywhere in Walden. Prejudice and opinion aren't literally made out of mud, but, by comparing them to mud, we get a sense of how difficult it can be to get past them. This would be a really easy place to make a Thoreau-is-a-stick-in-the-mud joke, but we like the guy, so we'll keep quiet.

Quote #3

In the midst of a gentle rain while these thoughts prevailed, I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature, in the very pattering of the drops, and in every sound and sight around my house, an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once like an atmosphere sustaining me, as made the fancied advantage of human neighborhood insignificant (Solitude.4)

Our author will often personify Nature, as in this quote, where he gives it the human quality of "friendliness." Have you ever thought of Nature as friendly, or, on the other hand, mean or distant?

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