Henry David Thoreau Was A Rebel



. Walden can be seen as an account
of his rebellion. By the 1840's, life had changed throughout New England,
even in the heart of America's rebellion, Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau
wrote that "I have traveled a good deal in Concord" (Krutch 108). He knew
what he saw there, and what he saw, he began to despise. "The mass of men
lead lives of quiet desperation" (111). In 1775, ordinary men had dared to
take up arms of rebellion and strike a blow for independence and freedom
(Bowes 123-124). Yet, in the space of few decades, the combined forces of
materialism and technology had subdued the children and grandchildren of
these freedom fighters and reduced them "to slave-drivers of ...

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and property,
Henry would separate himself from these attractive deceptions and seek out
the reality of nature's truths, and "not, when I came to die, discover that
I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so
dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite
necessary" (Krutch 172).
The quality of life throughout America was rapidly changing when
Henry cast his critical eye on Concord. Where others saw progress and
prosperity, he saw wastefulness and poverty. "We live meanly, like ants"
(173).

The transcendentalists were deeply concerned about the quality of life in
America. A great tide of material prosperity, checked only temporarily by
the crises of 1837 and 1839 and the ensuing depression, had overtaken the
country. Everything was expanding by leaps and bounds. Virgin territories
were being opened to settlement from Illinois to Oregon. Turnpikes, canals,
steamboats, railroads were rushed into being. The fur trade, ...

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bottom and
make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator
indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if
it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce
other things in proportion. (Krutch 173)

Thoreau believed life to be too complicated and such things as
internal improvements to be nothing but furniture cluttering up a room.
Americans were being confused and believed the illusions of luxuries of
life to be beneficiary to their happiness, but the people of New England
could not tell what an illusion looked like. They hadn't the time to
notice nature or to distinguish illusions from the real thing ...

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Added: 4/6/2006 06:38:52 AM
Category: Biographies
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1812
Pages: 7

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