Walden - Visitors

Eujin Jang

Summary

Thoreau discusses his many visitors. Despite living in an isolated location, he actually receives more of these visitors than ever before. All sorts of people stop by at Walden, including woodmen, townspeople, runaway slaves, children, and more. Contrary to what people may expect, Thoreau does not shun his visitors. He is willing to receive them happily, as long as the visits are meaningful spiritually and intellectually. From the contact he has with a diverse group of people, Thoreau is able to further establish his philosophy on the nature of people, individualism, and satisfaction in life and society.

Quotes

“One inconvenience I sometimes experienced in so small a house, the difficulty of getting to a sufficient distance from my guest when we began to utter the big thoughts in big words. “

Meaningful conversation needs room for individualism and independence in interpretation and communication

“I could entertain thus a thousand as well as twenty; and if any ever went away disappointed or hungry from my house when they found me at home, they may depend upon it that I sympathized with them at least.”

More focused on providing guests with spiritual than material enrichment

“I had withdrawn so far within the great ocean of solitude, into which the rivers of society empty, that for the most part, so far as my needs were concerned, only the finest sediment was deposited around me.”

Even when more isolated, now receives more meaningful visitors because people are less likely to visit with trivial purposes

“In him the animal man chiefly was developed. In physical endurance and contentment he was cousin to the pine and the rock. I asked him once if he was not sometimes tired at night, after working all day; and he answered, with a sincere and serious look, "Gorrappit, I never was tired in my life." But the intellectual and what is called spiritual man in him were slumbering as in an infant”

Admires strength, humility, independence of the Canadian woodman, but is disappointed because the man lacks spiritual ability

Connections

Transcendentalism

  • Stresses distance in a conversation – individualism in thoughts
  • Admires woodman for his independence and self sustenance – however, disappointed that he lacks spirituality or intelligence
  • Transcending beyond material value to spiritual value

The Night Thoruea Spent in Jail

  • Thoreau mentions a runaway slave – Henry Williams
  • Also mentions women and children to be more appreciative for the woods – in the play, most of his favorable acquaintances are women and children
  • “you would suppose that they would not go a-huckleberrying without a medicine chest”