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Thoreau's Experiment, Walden, And Carpe Diem

1131 words - 5 pages

The mindset of the new generation. It is the advice that’s been heard from the old generations. Live for today. Carpe Diem, “seize the day.” Today, this phrase should be prominent in society; many people want to live every day as if it’s their last on Earth. What I mean is that people want to experience everything they can within the duration of their lives. Henry David Thoreau is an example of one of these individuals; however he chose to document and say, what he supposed, was the exact definition of carpe diem itself. The publication of Walden solidified why he is closely related to this genre in literature. Nevertheless, with any author, you must know about their background and life to understand their works.
Henry David Thoreau was born and for most of his life lived in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. After taking a leave of absence from his studies at Harvard, he was a schoolteacher at Concord public schools in 1837. Yet he resigned weeks later for not administering corporal punishment to his pupils. He went on to work at his brother John’s school for grammar one year later. However, John died in Henry’s arms in 1842 of tetanus. Thoreau returned to Concord and became the protégé of his longtime mentor and neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson, a New England Transcendentalist, who was a paternal figure for Thoreau; he pushed him to get his essays published. Emerson even let Thoreau build a small cabin on his property at Walden Pond in 1845. This is where Thoreau documented his story in Walden. In the excerpt entitled, “Where I Lived and What I Lived for,” Thoreau expressed his Transcendentalist opinions and views. He relayed why he lived like this, leading a simple lifestyle and being happy is plausible, and that life is too short to be hurried. These examples can all be related to how he is included in carpe diem literature. Hitherto, we know about Thoreau the philosopher; in spite of this, what about Thoreau, the semi-hermit?
The reasoning behind Thoreau leaving civilization for a woodland lifestyle is best described in this sentence: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Thoreau didn’t want to lead a wasted life; he believed there, at Walden, in nature’s surroundings, he could discover life’s meaning. This relates to carpe diem because Thoreau wanted to do as much as he could while he was alive; he wanted no regrets on his life when his days were numbered. A neighbor of his claimed that Thoreau was jovial about daily life more than most other people. Anon, Thoreau described a “fact of life” in Walden. This fact is that everyone will live and everyone will die in their own time. Everyone. That is another giant criticism in this excerpt.
America is a country that is a cut above the rest in the world; well, to most people it is. Henry...

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