Addyson Huneke's Reviews > Walden

Walden by Henry David Thoreau
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did not like it

Thoreau is a walking contradiction. He thinks people would be warmer without clothes and shelter (just like the natives Magellan saw!) but wears clothes and lives in a house. He seems so annoyed by people that one wonders why he ever goes to town, but he whines in the beginning about how the townspeople wouldn't pay him to wander around looking at nature.
He's also incredibly boring. Nobody cares that he spent 8.74 on groceries for eight months. Or how much he spent on bricks. He certainly doesn't need to defend his spending a bunch on watermelons. He doesn't need to tell everyone that sunlight reflects off water like it's new information to us, or describe in detail his lengthy day hoeing beans. Frankly, no one really cares.
He doesn't seem to follow through on some of the things he believes in. If he truly believes mankind is warmer without clothes, why does he wear them? And one wonders, if he was so opposed to supporting a government that condoned slavery that he couldn't even pay the poll tax, why did he stay in the country at all? Move to the Rockies where he could enjoy nature all by his own lonesome, or move to Canada, where slavery was illegal, instead of staying under a government he seemed to hate and was making no attempt to change.
And then there's his arrogance. He literally says he wrote the book to brag, like a rooster yelling cockadoodledo just so everyone will hear him crowing (he uses that actual simile). He talks in the first few pages about how he, at the ripe old age of thirty, has never heard any advice that would help him ever and doesn't think people (seniors especially) are capable of giving any. He has to borrow an axe from his neighbor to cut down trees around Walden Pond and says how you should always borrow things from your neighbors to give them the privilege of joining in your noble work. Because he was being SO generous in letting his neighbor assist in the noble action of cutting down trees. He claims anyone who is poor is guilty of criminal acts and says anyone who can't read classic books in their original languages and/or hasn't read certain books is illiterate. There are numerous examples of this, but if I were to list them all, I would be here till Christmas.
In short, this book isn't worth reading. Appreciating nature and living a simple life are very good things, but Thoreau is a lazy, arrogant, pretentious, self-obsessed jerk who waxes philosophical about ant battles and doesn't know how much detail is too much detail. I'm sure there are much better books about nature, living an isolated life, civil disobedience, abolitionism, doing things different, transcendentalism (which I do not ascribe to), and yes, hoeing beans and ant battles, than this book.

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Reading Progress

September 17, 2018 – Started Reading
September 17, 2018 – Shelved
September 18, 2018 –
11.0% "Thoreau is one of the most arrogant people I've ever seen. How generous he is to borrow an ax from his neighbor so he can have an interest in his enterprise! As if anybody cares he's cutting down trees near his pond."
September 18, 2018 –
15.0% "So Thoreau is independent enough to be able to follow "the bent of his genius"? Ha! What genius?"
September 18, 2018 –
15.0% ""However, I should never have broken a horse or bull and taken him to board for any work he might do for me... "

Apparently, dear old Thoreau looks down on anyone who uses animal labor...while simultaneously using animal labor."
September 19, 2018 –
24.0% "I think my thoughts of this book could be summed up by the following words: Dude, nobody cares.

Seriously. I couldn't care less how much you spent on groceries. I really don't want to see your shopping list.

And for heaven's sake, why even write the book? Seriously, dude, no one cares."
September 20, 2018 –
36.0% "I'm struggling to stay awake."
October 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

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