Henry David Thoreau, The Great Conservationist, Visionary, And Humanist

1940 words - 8 pages

He spent his life in voluntary poverty, enthralled by the studyof nature. Two years, in the prime of his life, were spent living in ashack in the woods near a pond. Who would choose a life like this?Henry David Thoreau did, and he enjoyed it. Who was Henry David Thoreau,what did he do, and what did others think of his work?Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July12, 1817 ('Thoreau' 96), on his grandmother's farm. Thoreau, who was ofFrench-Huguenot and Scottish-Quaker ancestry, was baptized as David HenryThoreau, but at the age of twenty he legally changed his name to HenryDavid. Thoreau was raised with his older sister Helen, older brotherJohn, and younger sister Sophia (Derleth 1) in genteel poverty (The 1995Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1). It quickly became evident thatThoreau was interested in literature and writing. At a young age he beganto show interest writing, and he wrote his first essay, 'The Seasons,' atthe tender age of ten, while attending Concord Academy (Derleth 4).In 1833, at the age of sixteen, Henry David was accepted toHarvard University, but his parents could not afford the cost of tuitionso his sister, Helen, who had begun to teach, and his aunts offered tohelp. With the assistance of his family and the beneficiary funds ofHarvard he went to Cambridge in August 1833 and entered Harvard onSeptember first. 'He [Thoreau] stood close to the top of his class, buthe went his own way too much to reach the top' (5).In December 1835, Thoreau decided to leave Harvard and attempt toearn a living by teaching, but that only lasted about a month and a half(8). He returned to college in the fall of 1836 and graduated on August16, 1837 (12). Thoreau's years at Harvard University gave him one greatgift, an introduction to the world of books.Upon his return from college, Thoreau's family found him to beless likely to accept opinions as facts, more argumentative, andinordinately prone to shock people with his own independent andunconventional opinions. During this time he discovered his secretdesire to be a poet (Derleth 14), but most of all he wanted to live withfreedom to think and act as he wished.Immediately after graduation from Harvard, Henry David appliedfor a teaching position at the public school in Concord and wasaccepted. However, he refused to flog children as punishment. He optedinstead to deliver moral lectures. This was looked down upon by thecommunity, and a committee was asked to review the situation. Theydecided that the lectures were not ample punishment, so they orderedThoreau to flog recalcitrant students. With utter contempt he lined upsix children after school that day, flogged them, and handed in hisresignation, because he felt that physical punishment should have no partin education (Derleth 15).In 1837 Henry David began to write his Journal (16). It startedout as a literary notebook, but later developed into a work of art. Init Thoreau record his thoughts and discoveries about nature (The...

Find Another Essay On Henry David Thoreau, The Great Conservationist, Visionary, and Humanist

Henry David Thoreau Essay

1280 words - 6 pages Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord Massachusetts. Thoreau grew up in poverty; his dad was unsuccessful and had trouble maintaining a steady job. Thoreau followed in his father’s footsteps, ultimately bouncing from job to job, scorned by society for his unconventional way of living and lack of income (Henry David Thoreau, Discovering Biography). Thoreau began to write with the guidance of Ralph Waldo Emerson who became one

The Political Thinking and Influence of Henry David Thoreau

2166 words - 9 pages The Political Thinking and Influence of Henry David Thoreau The extent and nature of Henry David Thoreau’s commitment to social reform has long been a matter of debate among scholars. Drawing on his well-know disdain for organized politics and his focus of self-reform, some have observed that "Thoreau was no social reformer" (Goodwin 157). On the other hand, such major anti-slavery statements as "Civil Disobedience," "Slavery in

Henry David Thoreau

1381 words - 6 pages Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau grew up in poverty; his dad was unsuccessful and had trouble maintaining a steady job. Thoreau followed in his father’s footsteps, ultimately bouncing from job to job, scorned by society for his unconventional way of living and lack of income (Henry David Thoreau, Discovering Biography). Thoreau began to write with the guidance of Ralph Waldo Emerson who became one

The Individualism of Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless

934 words - 4 pages trying to prove to himself what he was capable of doing. Other people may have done this simply for the money and that is what Chris was always trying to avoid. The writer Henry David Thoreau, in the essay Walden also shares many of the views as Chris. In Walden, Henry David Thoreau explains his reasoning behind his move into the woods, the benefits of doing so and how it affected his life. Thoreau’s beliefs all stem deeply from individualism and

Into the Wild: Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless

776 words - 4 pages Jake Gordon Transcendentalism was an American philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century. It revolved around the idea that the unthinking conformity of the surrounding society was not sufficient enough in life. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were notable figures in this movement. Emerson once urged his followers to search for “an original relation to the universe”. It is evident that the best way to become a

Henry David Thoreau

4217 words - 17 pages parents passed on their love of nature to their children (9,10). After Henry's birth, John was forced to sign over the family home in Boston. The family was forced to move as they would many more times to come. On October 12, 1817, Henry was christened after his uncle David Thoreau, who had recently died (11). At the age of five Henry started school. This was the age that he went to visit his grandmother for first time and had his first

Henry David Thoreau - 756 words

756 words - 3 pages "We go westward," he said, "as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure." A naturalist and author, Henry David Thoreau made a difference in the nation, made an effect on the world, and made a change in government. Prior to my knowledge, he was a man unto himself who look at society and government and found them lacking in nearly every respect. His outstanding writings became classics of American literature. During the civil

Henry David Thoreau - 670 words

670 words - 3 pages authors presented nature as a work of art, established through divine imagination construct. One of the Romanticism writers is David Henry Thoreau who illustrated nature and its meaning in his book, Walden. Most of Thoreau’s phrases in the book show a close link between Romanticism and nature, as he tries to bring out the importance of the latter. One of the quotes from Thoreau’s book that relates to nature is: “… and as we had drank in the

Frederick Douglass and Henry David Thoreau

1651 words - 7 pages Frederick Douglass was an American slave.  Henry David Thoreau was a writer from the 17th  century.  The narrative read about Frederick Douglass was about his life as a slave, and how it changed as time went on, including his eventual release from enslavement.  The article about Henry Thoreau was in regards to the theory of Civil Disobedience, and his role in the creation of that theory.     &nbsp

Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne

918 words - 4 pages Personal LivesHenry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July 12, 1817 and died there peacefully on May 6, 1862. He was described by Hawthorne as "ugly as sin." He loved nature, and his constant preoccupation was exploring the woods and ponds making detailed observations of plants and creatures. Henry led a singular life, never marrying, and marching to his own drummer, as he put it. From 1845 to 1847, he lived alone in a small

Henry David Thoreau: The Grat Transcendentalist

2173 words - 9 pages greatly. Many of the transcendentalist views of Thoreau were very reasonable to making the world a better place for the individual to live. Although Transcendentalism as a movement did not last, the words of Henry David Thoreau live on as we study his great achievements and moral values. His education at Harvard University sparked his interest in the movement followed by his adult life in which he put all of his views together in a few pieces of

Similar Essays

Henry David Thoreau And The Counterculture

1742 words - 7 pages differently than everyone else. He stressed how great it was to be different and explained that people interpret things differently and that is what makes society, society. The counter culture focused on traveling in groupies. They also shared different opinions on government. Although they shared few differences, Henry David Thoreau and the counterculture were equally and highly transcendental. Works Cited "About Thoreau: Thoreau and the

Henry David Thoreau And The Transcendentalist Movement

1584 words - 6 pages Henry David Thoreau once said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly needed to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail” (The). This quote describes the attitude that

Henry David Thoreau And Indiviualism Essay

849 words - 3 pages Henry David Thoreau and IndividualismAlthough Romanticism varied from one group or individual to another, certain characteristics were common to most aspects of the movement. Some of these common characteristics were individualism, rejection of rules of art forms, emotional expression, imagination rather than reason, and expression of the sublime or peaceful aspects of nature. Additional commonalities were some of the things Romanticists opposed

The Incredible Henry David Thoreau Essay

1400 words - 6 pages just a dream. The country was torn by slavery. And some men began to question the integrity of their government. Henry David Thoreau was one such man. Henry Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts to a successful pencil manufacturer John Thoreau and a strong-willed, quick-witted mother, Cynthia. Early on Henry enjoyed reading books and observing nature in solitude. He inherited the gift of gab and intellectual inquiry from his mother as