Such beautiful words...

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Wow! My first thoughts after reading these two chapters are that Thoreau really knows his way with words. Everything seems to sound so beautiful and interesting... but, onto the chapters.

Chapter 2:
"What should we think of the shepherd's life if his flocks always wandered to higher pastures than his thoughts?" 

This quote made me stop and think as I was reading this chapter. Could it be the shepherd, who leads the sheep, never really exceeds the sheep in mental capacity? Is the shepherd, in turn, a sheep? Thoreau talks a lot in these journal entries (if you call them that) about being free, and his seen benefits of being so. He even goes as far as to say that there is no difference in being committed to the farm or the county jail--you are still committed. He is sharing the benefits of being free in nature, and trying to get the most out of his life. It seems as though he also stereotypes the general person, saying that we should only respect what is rightfully inevitable and not give in to delusions. I do find myself living in a dream world a lot of the time... Thoreau makes a legitimate point. We do have incredibly high expectations. 

Chapter 4: 
"Up comes the cotton, down goes the woven cloth; up comes the silk, down goes the woollen; up comes the books, but down comes the wit that writes them."

A bold statement... basically, the impression I received from this chapter was that Walden was trying to appreciate the beauty of undisturbed nature, and in so doing, showed the ugliness of the modern (at that time) world. Thoreau appreciates the birds, the flowers, the trees... and courage. Bravery is a key point that is stressed. You should be brave enough to live the life you want. I also found his passage about owls very interesting. An owls "hoo hoo" is the representation of "stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts we all have." I'll have to think on that for a while. 


Jessica Apitsch said:

I took interest in two quotes that support what you are saying in chapter 4. He does seem to stress the ugliness and dullness of the world outside of nature. "the wine has lost its flavor, and become only liquor to distend their paunches, and sweet intoxication never comes to drown the memory of the past, but mere saturation and waterloggedness and distention" (7). Also your point on bravery can be seen when Thoreau makes the bold statement "Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep your own track then." (4).

I would also agree with your statement in chapter two about how we live in delusions. If people would just take life for what it is many negative situations could be avoided.

I think it's up to each individual to balance reality with imagination. One cannot really live without exploring the inner self. I think day dreaming allows us to live out some of our wildest fantasies without the actual danger of getting hurt by truly living them. It allows us to be free, to fly with ourselves. Everyone needs that occasionally. Thoreau uses so many analogies that the stories can be interpreted in so many ways.
I agree we have to respect the inevitable, but why not live out some of the fun in a safe place?

Sarah Durham said:

Jessica I'm glad to hear I'm not the only on who has to think on Thoreau's writings. Your comment on how chapter 4 showed his appreciation of nature and in turn removed the rose colored glasses of what the modern world looked like. I got the feeling he was struggling with the love a nature and an almost anger toward those individuals who live their lives ignoring it.

Jessica Pierce said:

Heather, you make a good point. Fun is an integral part of life =). Sarah, I'm sure we're not the only ones who struggled. And in response to Thoreau, I got a sense of his struggle as well. It seemed as though he was fighting with himself.

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Jessica Pierce on Such beautiful words...: Heather, you make a good point
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