Henry David Thoreau

By: Victoria, Khush, Juan

1. Background

Henry David Thoreau, a world influence, was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts, and lived there most of his life. His parents were permanently poor. He entered Harvard in 1833 as a scholarship student. He soon saw that many of the values of his fellow students could never become his. Thoreau spent much of his life attempting to do what he wanted and at the same time to survive. At one point he built a cabin at Walden Pond just outside Concord, he lived in it during 1845 and 1846. He never married.

2. Excerpt from Henry David Thoreau

Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what the Powers had made there, the form and fashion and material of their work. This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man's garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste-land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet Earth, as it was made for ever and ever, — to be the dwelling of man, we say, — so Nature made it, and man may use it if he can. Man was not to be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific, — not his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him to tread on, or be buried in, — no, it were being too familiar even to let his bones lie there, — the home, this, of Necessity and Fate. There was there felt the presence of a force not bound to be kind to man. It was a place for heathenism and superstitious rites, — to be inhabited by men nearer of kin to the rocks and to wild animals than we. We walked over it with a certain awe, stopping, from time to time, to pick the blueberries which grew there, and had a smart and spicy taste. Perchance where our wild pines stand, and leaves lie on their forest floor, in Concord, there were once reapers, and husbandmen planted grain; but here not even the surface had been scarred by man, but it was a specimen of what God saw fit to make this world. What is it to be admitted to a museum, to see a myriad of particular things, compared with being shown some star's surface, some hard matter in its home! I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, — that my body might, — but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan that has possession of me? Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! theactual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we? - Henry David Thoreau's Ktaadn (Pg. 172)

4. Why was Chris facinated by him?

Chris is facinated with Henry David Thoreu's ideaologies and reasoning. He understands the conceptual processes of government that Thoreu discusses. He can relate to the perception of government , thoreu mentions " a government is best when it doesnt governnment" Chris portrays this throughout his actions that are socially outcasted, and rebelious such as having a weapon that is not licensed to him, and burning money. He can relate to society "handicapping" him from achieving self-realizations.

5. Section where he was mentioned

  • McCandless could endeavor to explain that he answered to statues of a higher order-taht as a latterday adherent of Henry David Thoreau, he took as gospel the essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" and thus considered it his moral responsibility to flaut the laws of the sate.
  • Unlike Muir and Thoreau, McCandless went into the wilderness not primarily to ponder nature or the world at large but, rather, to explore the ineer country of his won soul. Pg 183
  • On the face of it , Bullhead city doesnt seem like the kidn of place that would appeal to an adherent of Thoreau and Tolstoy, and ideologue who expressed nothing but contempt for the bourgeois trappings of mainstream America. Pg 39