© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Walden

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

First Person (Central)

In Walden, Thoreau uses a first person, central narrator point of view to describe his personal experiences during his two-year adventure. The advantage of this narrative technique is that we get right into Thoreau's head. It's as if he were thinking aloud to us. There is no feeling or impression that he doesn't attempt to communicate. Did he eat a disgusting root? Check. Did he eat a woodchuck? Check. Does he like the way worn-in clothes feel? Check. Thoreau is so self-conscious that he even seems aware of his own limitations. Often, something that might sound pompous and preachy gets undercut by a humorous context. It's hard to feel judged when the person who's doing the judging has just eaten a woodchuck. If anyone else were telling this story, it just wouldn't feel quite as authentic.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement