This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Henry David Thoreau's Walden And Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac

862 words - 3 pages

Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac

While discussing Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, we attempted to address an important challenge -- Is the close observation and description of nature merely an idle thing for people in today's world? It could be suggested that nature writing and the close enjoyment of natural environments is merely "recreational" and not intellectually, economically, or politically worthy of our efforts. Perhaps this activity has "spiritual value" or gives us a "sense of peace." But does it really have anything to do with the way we live in the world today? It seems to me that this question is central to the whole course of study and that we need to be able to answer it convincingly and in some detail.

In my view, there can be no doubt to the correct answer. The close observation and description of nature is no idle thing. It is an act of world-making, or founding one's world view. Since behavior is determined by the ways in which one sees the world (reality), it is the groundwork of one's behavior. It is this act in which we find both Thoreau and Leopold engaged. Thoreau himself comments on its significance in the essay, "Where I Lived and What I lived For." By closely observing, but especially by describing (by using language) we establish our lives within the whole natural world. We express our desire and commitment to live within that world.

Now, perhaps this sounds trivial and trite in today's world, but it is no trivial commitment for a citizen of today. Modern human life is set so firmly within a human-built world and dwells so thoroughly on human issues only that it is normal for us all to grow up and live out our lives within that narrow realm of human self-interests. To expand one's world and to become inclusive of the whole natural world as the "place" of one's existence requires significant change and, indeed, education. Just learning to see and hear is difficult; but learning the language of nature requires work. It is no trivial task.

None of this quite answers the challenge, above, though. Perhaps an inclusive view of nature is difficult and non-trivial, but it still might be construed as an idle fancy. How can we say that it is important? Why is the expansion of our world view to a nature-inclusive view a matter of importance. Answering this challenge, I can only say that nature is our home place. Thus, life as our culture...

Find Another Essay On Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac

Comparing Metaphors in Norman Maclean's, A River Runs Through It and Henry David Thoreau's, Walden

1477 words - 6 pages Comparing Metaphors in Norman Maclean's, A River Runs Through It and Henry David Thoreau's, Walden In Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It, the author recounts the story of his early life growing up in Montana. The narrative revolves around his family and the art of fly fishing. Through the novel, Maclean begins to understand the wisdom of his father, the fierce independence and downfall of his brother, and the divinity and beauty of

A Critical Review of Sand County Almanac by Leopold

1643 words - 7 pages examples create the text out of which the land ethic in part III comes out. Like Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond, Leopold's shack on the farm is the focal point of an important experiment—to test the value of a life lived in a close and musical relationship to the land. And, like Thoreau's Walden, Leopold's A Sand County Almanac is the published report. Both books broke new intellectual ground and drew on a tradition of democratic values—

Henry David Thoreau's Integrity

619 words - 2 pages Henry David Thoreau's Integrity Although his actions were admirable and act as evidence to integrity, the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Emerson reveal a haughty and pretentious individual. Thoreau's courage was noble. He was quick to immerse himself in his beliefs and abandon any obligation to social norms despite the risk in damaging his reputation. His rejection of societal limitations and steadfast individualism was truly

Benjamin Franklin and Henry David Thoreau's Religions

771 words - 3 pages Benjamin Franklin and Henry David Thoreau's Religions Benjamin Franklin and Henry David Thoreau are by no means religious in any traditional sense of the word. If, however, “religious” is taken to mean the “belief in any sort of supreme being...that obliges ethical or moral conduct”, then both Franklin and Thoreau fall into this category. Though the two are strikingly opposite in their manner and social interaction, they are

Henry David Thoreau's Literary Experience

1353 words - 6 pages scenario of being self-reliant would be soldiers in war. A soldier would be self-reliant on the skills he had already learned as well as his common sense. The ability to be self-reliant on your own skills is important because it is one of the only things you can rely on in life. Henry David Thoreau is best known for “Civil Disobedience” and “Walden”. His run in with Emerson got him started with the Transcendentalism movement, which came natural to

Action and Reaction: Henry David Thoreau's Influence on Edward Abbey

2113 words - 8 pages belongs to the government, which allows him to further express his outrage that it is our own government that is interrupting and destroying our natural wonderlands. This observation, reminiscent of Thoreau, allows Abbey to combine ideas about nature, dwindling areas of isolation, and resistance to the government, and it serves as a nice precursor to themes he will further explore in The Monkey Wrench Gang. Henry David Thoreau and Edward Abbey

Simplicity and Freedom in Walden by Henry David Thoreau

1008 words - 4 pages In chapter two of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, entitled "Where I Lived, and What I Lived for", there are two themes that run throughout the narrative. The key theme that emerges continually is that of simplicity with the additional theme being that of freedom. Thoreau finds himself surrounded by a world that has no true freedom or simplified ways, with people committed to the world that surrounds them rather than being committed to their

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, and Transcendental Values for Education

968 words - 4 pages Henry David Thoreau was testing transcendental values when he took up residence at Walden Pond in 1845. During his time of simple living at the pond, he studied nature and applied those observations to humans and everyday life. He was always learning from the woods, pond, meadows and animals in the natural world around him. Nature was his classroom and everything was an opportunity to learn. In Thoreau’s book, Walden , written at the pond

Walden book report by Henry David Thoreau

891 words - 4 pages Have you ever taken a moment and just embraced the world around you for what it is? Most people do not have enough time in their busy schedules to slow down and absorb the atmosphere around them. This is the premises for Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Within these 300 pages, Thoreau delightfully makes his argument that in order for man to ever evolve as human beings, we must first simplify. Written in the years 1845-1847, Thoreau was observing a

Simplicity: "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

803 words - 3 pages On July 4th, 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into his newly-completed wooden house by Walden Pond. During his two-year experiment in natural living, Thoreau contemplated the benefits of a simple, self-reliant lifestyle in nature. He set out to explore this simplicity and immerse himself in it. Upon his return, Thoreau began work on his walk, Walden, in which he explores the theme of simplicity and how a pure, natural lifestyle without

Walden and Henry David Thoreau All about Throeau's 2 years 2 months and 2 days at Walden Pond

641 words - 3 pages visitors. Girls and boys and young women generally seemed glad to be in the woods. They looked in the pond and at the flowers, and improved their time."Walden by Henry David Thoreau is an important book for a high school student to read because it has important factors of life that may be needed now, or in you future. In this book, Thoreau explained many things, but I think the most important thing he explained were his chapters on Reading, Solitude

Similar Essays

A Sand County Almanac By Aldo Leopold

598 words - 2 pages In Aldo Leopold's book "A Sand County Almanac", Aldo discussed many thoughts, ideas and feelings about the environment and man's interaction with it. He was able to describe his surrounds with amazing ingenuity. One can connect with what Leopold says as he takes us through one thought provoking idea after another in his book. One thought that Leopold described, which holds true to this day, is the concept of a Land Ethic and why such an ethic is

Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" Essay

704 words - 3 pages Henry David Thoreau starts "Walden" by explaining where he lived while he wrote most of the book. He lived in a house he built himself by Walden Pond pretty far from society. He then speaks about his belief that people are enslaved. They are too focused on material things, instead of living a simpler life with "spiritual values". "Thoreau then adjures his readers to give up their prejudices, refuse to be lectured by their elders, and dare

Commentary On The Sand County Almanac By Aldo Leopold

1264 words - 6 pages The Sand County Almanac Aldo Leopold was born in 1887 and was raised in Burlington, Iowa. He did a lot of work for conserving nature, and even published his own textbook in 1933. Leopold, who usually wrote journals or for magazines, decided to write a book which compared humanity’s relationship to the rest of the world. Sadly, just one week after receiving a notice that his work would be publish, he died. About a year later, his book was

Henry David Thoreau's Call For A New Ideology In Walden

1079 words - 4 pages As most naturalists do, Henry David Thoreau detailed his two-year nature experiment with extensive observations in his book Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. But Thoreau was far more than a common environmentalist he was a revolutionary. Through transcendentalism, simplicity and art Thoreau calls readers to contemplate a paradigm shift in their existence toward a genuine self. To do this, the individuals must remove themselves from a life that is