16 Facts About Walden


Walden is a book by American transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau.

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Walden identifies many plants and animals by both their popular and scientific names, records in detail the color and clarity of different bodies of water, precisely dates and describes the freezing and thawing of the pond, and recounts his experiments to measure the depth and shape of the bottom of the supposedly "bottomless" Walden Pond.

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Part memoir and part spiritual quest, Walden opens with the announcement that Thoreau spent two years at Walden Pond living a simple life without support of any kind.

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Walden explains how loneliness can occur even amid companions if one's heart is not open to them.

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Walden reflects on his new companion, an old settler who arrives nearby and an old woman with great memory .

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Walden receives visits from those living or working nearby and gives special attention to a French Canadian born woodsman named Alec Therien.

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Walden concludes that the primitive, carnal sensuality of humans drives them to kill and eat animals, and that a person who transcends this propensity is superior to those who cannot.

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Walden recognizes that Native Americans need to hunt and kill moose for survival in "The Maine Woods", and eats moose on a trip to Maine while he was living at Walden.

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Walden lays in a good supply of firewood, and expresses affection for wood and fire.

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Walden relates his observations of owls, hares, red squirrels, mice, and various birds as they hunt, sing, and eat the scraps and corn he put out for them.

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Walden says he has sounded its depths and located an underground outlet.

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Walden is a difficult book to read for three reasons: First, it was written in an older prose, which uses surgically precise language, extended, allegorical metaphors, long and complex paragraphs and sentences, and vivid, detailed, and insightful descriptions.

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Walden emphasizes the importance of solitude, contemplation, and closeness to nature in transcending the "desperate" existence that, he argues, is the lot of most people.

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Walden compares the process of death and rebirth of the pond to self-transformation in humans.

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But, researchers have shown that Walden actually was "more favorably and widely received by Thoreau's contemporaries than hitherto suspected".

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Today, despite these criticisms, Walden stands as one of America's most celebrated works of literature.

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