Walden Walden discussion


227 views
in the woods

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kathleen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Kathleen Very inspring and makes you want to quit your job and smell the flowers!


Annemarie Donahue Ha ha! Love your post. This book IS fantastic. I hope you live in Massachusetts because it is beautiful around Walden this summer. This book is a huge inspiration, and reminds me of Boethius' Consolations of Philosophy, another book that asks the reader to disregard the material aspects of life and embrace their mind. I love teaching this book to my seniors, and they (for the most part) tolerate it.


Hadi I'd recommend reading the last chapter at least if not the whole book.


Regina Shelley I read this book while on a train that was, ironically, on it's way to Massachusetts and back. That I happened to be reading Walden was an accident, although I did indeed go hike around Walden Pond while I was up there.

Beautiful sentiment and language, and I enjoyed it. Good thing to read on a long, solitary trip in the spring.


message 5: by Ignotu (last edited Apr 07, 2012 01:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ignotu In a list of “Books that change your life”, WALDEN would be on it for sure!
It’s so true, so natural, so inspiring!! The world, society and individual living are perceived in different tones from then on…


Lyndsey this would be my desert island book. it says so much about humanity and nature and being content.


Moonlight Walden was a great book. One of the things on my To Do list when I lived (briefly) in MA was to visit Walden's Pond. You have to be in that shack to truly appreciate how small it is. If you liked Walden's Pond, then I recommend A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.


Mark Heyne I loved it too. Only the fact that Thoreau was living on Emerson's land, not exactly out in the wild put a question mark over the whole venture. All the same, Thoreau is a seminal American writer, not least for his civil disobedience to protest the war on Mexico.


Jenn I was inspired by Thoreau, not to go out to live in the woods or anything, but to simplifiy my life. I spend more time walking in the woods or on the beach depending on where I am at the moment to just enjoy nature and feel reenergized. It almost reminds me that there is more to life than my own little world. I've learned there are things I could do without like designer clothes or the latest in computer technology. I love going away somewhere without television or internet service.


Bruce Blizard As a companion to Walden read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. It is the true story of a young, idealist who misreads Thoreau, with tragic consequences. He understands Thoreau in the abstract, but misinterprets the practical implications.

Thoreau's notion of radical self-reliance requires competence in the skills necessary to provide for ourselves.


message 11: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Heyne Bruce wrote: "As a companion to Walden read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer." That is a very sad story. He dies out in the Alaskan wilderness, having burned his money and gone back to nature...permanently. A very naive young man with no practical survival skills.


BubblesTheMonkey I want to quit my job but I don't need to read a book to want to. ;)


Joanne I read this many years ago, but I seem to remember him putting a rock he liked on his desk. Then he thought about having to dust it, and tossed it out the window.


message 14: by Feliks (last edited Jun 07, 2013 08:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Feliks I disagree with the above comment on 'how wild he was living'. Its not necessarily more valid to live farther away from civilization, not if you're seeking what Thoreau was seeking. If he had ventured out to some really remote location, that would have in itself, defeated his purpose. Wild living takes a lot of work. It becomes a job in itself; drains energy and concentration. What he wanted was merely a 'near-distance' and 'local separation' from the cloying rhythms of 'town-living'. As he points out, just stepping one remove away from civilization enables the individual to re-discover nature.

I just got done reading his 'Cape Cod' and found it as rewarding as his other works.


Anastasia Abboud I've always found "Walden" to be a peaceful, interesting read. It's one of my favorites.


message 16: by Moonlight (last edited Nov 03, 2013 07:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Moonlight Thoreau is about living simply and appreciating nature. He didn't chuck it all and live like Ted Kazynski in the backwoods of Montana (or Maine). He lived a couple of miles outside Concord. He picked his food from a farmers field as I recall. Walden is about moderation, simplification and appreciation, not revolution. That's as far away from Into the Wild as 2001: A Space Odessey. And that is the tragedy of Into the Wild. That boy didn't or couldn't see the difference. Something was lacking in his critical thinking skills.


message 17: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Moonlight wrote: "Thoreau is about living simply and appreciating nature. He didn't chuck it all and live like Ted Kazynski in the backwoods of Montana (or Maine). He lived a couple of miles outside Concord. He p..."

I think his book about civil disobedience is a little bit about revolution.


message 18: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Lyerla I loved this book, but it is guilty of romanticizing isolation. Read T'horeau's notes taken during his sojourn at Walden Pond. They suggest that he got a little daffy at times. Too much solitude, I imagine.


Jennifer Wixson According to my sources, Thoreau ambled into town to take lunch or dinner with his mother every day (or with the Emersons, whose pocket out of which he basically lived). However, as others have pointed out "wilderness" isn't what this great thinker was looking for but that peaceful separation from society that allowed him time to contemplate its chains.

Here's one of my favorite stories that says a lot about the man Thoreau: -- when Nathaniel Hawthorne married Sophia Peabody and moved to the Old Manse in Concord, Thoreau planted (in advance) their garden for them. After breakfast , I go forth into my garden, and gather whatever the beautiful Mother has made fit for our present sustenance; and, of late days, she generally gives me two squashes and a cucumber, and promises me green corn and shell beans, very soon.
N. Hawthorne Journal entry, Saturday, August 13, [1842]


The garden was a wedding gift from Thoreau to the young couple, and has been a working garden ever since 1842 -- 172 years!


message 20: by Luke (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luke Marsden Since reading this book, I often wonder how Thoreau would live in today's world. I'm sure he would enjoy such things as the internet (perhaps even GR!), but to make use of them would probably entail a greater degree of buy-in to structured society than he was prepared to countenance at the time of writing Walden.

Would a modern-day Thoreau have a computer in his cabin?


Jennifer Wixson Luke wrote: "Since reading this book, I often wonder how Thoreau would live in today's world. I'm sure he would enjoy such things as the internet (perhaps even GR!), but to make use of them would probably entai..."

Geez, I can't see Thoreau having a computer in his cabin (but maybe at his mother's house). I think he would just go into the woods (mostly likely northern Maine woods) and do the same thing he did in the 19th century, although he wouldn't be able to visit his friends in Concord everyday. He'd have to make new friends in Jackman or Greenville. Fortunately, that's easy to do!


message 22: by Luke (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luke Marsden Jennifer wrote: "Geez, I can't see Thoreau having a computer in his cabin (but maybe at his mother's house). I think he would just go into the woods (mostly likely northern Maine woods) and do the same thing he did in the 19th century..."

If not in his cabin, having the web close at hand seems like a good balance. This in itself, though, already constitutes quite a compromise to the simple living ideals that he propounds (although, for that matter, so does relying on family and friends for meals, if your sources are reliable!)

As to whether he would do the same thing today as back then... I'm not sure. The world has changed too much. Put the same man in this new world and it's difficult to predict what his reaction would be. If he did go off and do the same thing, would anyone take any notice nowadays?

I suppose another way of phrasing my question is: what would a modern-day Walden be like? Would this new Thoreau dedicate himself, as then, to contemplation alongside a single pond, or would the increased possibilities of the modern world take him down a different path, as revolutionary for the present time as Walden was for its own?


message 23: by Nahed.E (last edited Feb 04, 2015 04:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nahed.E one of the most wonderful books , take u to a trip in the woods , far way from the city , people , noise, and fake humanity . what I like most , the hero , how much he is in love with nature , and how much he is believe in his hart , he knew that he were right choosing being away , just with himself ..
really , sometime ourselves become enough .


James Kraus The Forester by James Kraus

"If you have to sweep your door mat everyday, get rid of it, because it owns you." Thoreau Are these words of wisdom?


Joanne James wrote: "The Forester by James Kraus

"If you have to sweep your door mat everyday, get rid of it, because it owns you." Thoreau Are these words of wisdom?"

Yes, I will embroider them on my doormat.


James Kraus I read that to my wife on our honeymoon. We have been married 45 years & I have done a lot of sweeping. Unfortunately there is also a lot of truth in that statement......perhaps too much. James K


Joanne My doormat is made from pieces of flip-flop material. It can't be swept, I own it.


back to top