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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library Classics)

by

Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library Classics) Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Walden, thought by many to be Thoreau's masterpiece, contains the famous lines, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." What lessons does Thoreau learn, in your view, through his experience of living in simple near isolation at Walden Pond?

2. At the end of two years, why does Thoreau leave Walden? Does he himself provide or imply an adequate answer?

3. Discuss Thoreau's ideas about living simply, without material luxuries. Do his ideas still apply? Is the kind of freedom and self-reliance Thoreau sought possible in societies other than the America of Thoreau's time? Is it possible in America today?

4. In the essay "Nature," Thoreau writes: "I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil-to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society." Discuss the meaning of this statement, and Thoreau's relationship to nature, one of the great themes running through all of his work, as both "absolute freedom and wildness," and as something that has, for Thoreau, definite spiritual associations. What is to be gained by living as "part and parcel of Nature?" What is given up? Discuss other writers you've read that might be said to record similar attitudes toward nature.

5. The essay "Civil Disobedience" proved to be one of the most admired essays ever written; it influenced Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi, among others. In it, Thoreau distinguishes between "the law," and "the right," and here as elsewhere takes strong issue with government injustice, and even government altogether. In the essay's first paragraph he writes, "That government is best which governs not at all," and elsewhere, "Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." Still elsewhere, he writes, "I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion." Discuss Thoreau's attitude toward government, politics, and morality, in "Civil Disobedience" and elsewhere in his writings.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679783343
Editor:
Atkinson, Brooks
Introduction:
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Introduction by:
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Introduction:
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Editor:
Atkinson, Brooks
Author:
Atkinson, Brooks
Author:
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Author:
Thoreau, Henry David
Publisher:
Modern Library
Location:
New York
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
Civil disobedience
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
Solitude
Subject:
Walden Woods
Subject:
Merrimack River
Subject:
Concord River
Subject:
Thoreau, Henry David - Homes and haunts -
Subject:
Walden Woods (Mass.)
Subject:
General Philosophy
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Modern Library Classics
Series Volume:
106-644
Publication Date:
20001131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
848
Dimensions:
8 x 5.13 x 1.08 in 1.25 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Reference

Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 848 pages Modern Library - English 9780679783343 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Walden, Henry David Thoreau's vision of personal freedom, is indelibly etched on the American consciousness. Included here with the complete text of Walden are selections from Thoreau's first book, "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers; " "A Plea for Captain John Brown", his eloquent defense of the American abolitionist's rebellion at Harper's Ferry, and such masterpieces as his famous essay "Civil Disobedience", in which he describes a night spent in prison for refusing to pay a poll tax to a government that condoned slavery. This edition is edited by Brooks Atkinson, with a new Introduction.
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