Henry David Thoreau Essays

(1854); second to this in popularity is his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government” (1849), which was later republished posthumously as “Civil Disobedience” (1866).His fame largely rests on his role as a literary figure exploring the wilds of the natural world, not as a philosopher.

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A consumer society is based on the ability to create a desire for new products; to maintain this high level of dependence on material goods, people have to work more.

These artificial cares, or desires for unneeded goods, diminished the time available for rejuvenating activities and quality interpersonal relations.

Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that.

Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. (Thoreau 6) America’s market society was generating a level of artificiality in life and cultivating a desire for the accumulation of goods.

In the twenty-first century, scholars have begun to take Thoreau more seriously as a philosopher. Tauber focuses on Thoreau as a moral thinker, and the essays in , a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of Thoreau’s life and texts; an example is Edward F.

In , Stanley Cavell addresses Thoreau as an analyst of language who works against skeptical foundations. Mooney’s article examining Thoreau’s wild ethics, which concludes with a summary of Thoreau’s ethics of care, or more accurately, Thoreau’s preservative care for all that is wild.I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life . In doing so, Thoreau wanted to “suck out all the marrow of life,” which means he sought to ingest the vitality at the core of life itself—as “marrow” signified the best aspect of an entity.His withdrawal, then, concerned living more fully and as simply as possible.To counteract this dehumanizing process, Thoreau chose to make his life an example of simple living and his writings fruits of his countercultural lifestyle.Within this context, he is probably best known for his experiment at Walden Pond. Obtaining approval from Emerson to build a cabin on Emerson’s land, Thoreau built a ten-by-fifteen-foot cabin on the shores of Walden Pond.Cavell’s engagement associates Thoreau with other philosophers of language, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and J. In the end, this emphasis on a more philosophical Thoreau makes sense. Finally, in Thoreau’s library one could find various philosophical texts: Thomas Brown’s Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts to a close-knit family.Because of Harvard College’s reliance on John Locke’s empirical philosophy, Thoreau extensively examined Locke’s , and he had to study the Scottish Common Sense philosophy of Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart. Within his house were his mother, father, two sisters, and brother.He saw the unfavorable consequences of the market not only in the natural world, but the changes in human communities, and the diminishment of life worried him.Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.Since 1906, Thoreau’s reputation as a literary figure has grown, and he has become an important intellectual figure for environmental movements.The Transcendentalist movement, which was an intellectual, social, and religious movement of loosely gathered, like-minded individuals in and around Boston and Concord, helped to cultivate Thoreau’s intellectual pursuits.

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