Opening Question: Life is short, so why do people tend to focus on the unnecessary details within their lives?
“Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” This quote from Bruce Lee goes thoroughly follows Henry David Thoreau’s argument in his essay titled “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.” Thoreau believes that each person should cherish the individual; in order to do so, the trivial details must be left alone. According to Thoreau, “After a night’s sleep the news is as indispensable as breakfast…And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper.” Because reading or, in the modern era, watching the news has turned into a habit, many people have incorporated it ...view middle of the document...
His main argument may not be simplicity by itself, but simplicity connects to the overall idea that details are consuming a person’s everyday life. Thoreau utilizes repetition in order to show how important it is to keep one’s life simple. This idea is reiterated several times besides within this line. He states, “When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.” In this line, Thoreau is stating that if people remain simple and stop rushing through life, the good of the world would stand out while the bad would seem trivial. If the opposite is true and people continue to rush through life, only the bad things will seem relevant. In this line, he is repeating the idea of maintaining simplicity. He continues mentioning this in order to continue to show his audience his argument. This repetition leaves an imprint within the audience’s mind that allows them to have his argument in the back of their head throughout the entire essay and perhaps even beyond that.
Core Question 2: Thoreau asks many rhetorical questions within his essay including, “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?” (Paragraph 3, page 277) What is his purpose in doing this?
Thoreau states, “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stiches today to save nine tomorrow.” In this line, he is asking his audience the reason that they tend to rush throughout their life; people attempt to save time in the future by wasting all their time on saving time. As foolish and paradoxical as it sounds, this is true. He asks this rhetorical question in order to make the audience realize the foolishness of their ways. It seemingly makes no sense, so therefore it will cause the audience to realize the error of their ways. Thoreau then states, “If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident…we never need read another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with this principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?” In this line, the author states several instances that one may read in the newspaper on a regular basis. He then asks of his audience why they feel the need to continue reading these things when they have read them countless times before. By asking this rhetorical question, the audience yet again realizes that something seems to be wrong in the way that they are living and thinking. It causes them to believe his argument and develop a want to change it. He then asks, “Why should we knock under and go with the stream?” and “If the bell rings, why should we run?” In this line, Thoreau is questioning his audience’s habits; he wonders why people follow the leaders and why people follow social cues. He follows these questions with anecdotes and allegories that work together to form his argument in a logical...