is, in other words, a way of testing ones life. In these late essays the themes of Walden return, but they are now expressed with the strength and poetic insight of a man facing death. It is primarily offered as a response to the negative press that Brown received for his efforts. On the one hand, it serves as a mirror and metaphor of human existence. Thoreau has in mind a specific audience: those who have become disenchanted with their everyday lives, the mass of men who are discontented, and idly complaining of the hardness of their lot or of the times. He chides his fellow citizens for directly and indirectly enabling slavery to continue in the Southern states, and he suggests that they find ways to act in resistance to the government on this score. Toward the end of his life Thoreaus naturalistic interests took a more scientific turn; he pursued a close examination of local fauna and kept detailed records of his observations.
A na tural skill for mensuration, growing out of his mathematical knowledge and his. Is not solid with a right materialistic treatment, which delights everybody? Thoreau and Crusoe come to spend time in nature for different reasons but.
Thoreaus place in American philosophy is only now being given serious consideration; it seems likely that his influence will continue to flourish. The return of the runaway Anthony Burns to slavery by the state of Massachusetts under the federal Fugitive Slave Law pushed Thoreau to take an even stronger stance than he had in Civil Disobedience.
But these years were marred by recurring bouts of tuberculosis, a disease common to the time and to Thoreaus family. Nature again establishes the basis by which human beings must gauge their own lives. Also, natures presence is not merely accepted passively; Thoreau focuses on its agency as an analogue and inspiration for human agency. His naturalistic writing integrated straightforward observation and cataloguing with Transcendentalist interpretations of nature and the wilderness. This book, together with other readings in forestry and natural history, provided the basis for the new studies. As Schulz puts it, The hypocrisy is that Thoreau lived a complicated life but pretended to live a simple one. It turns out, Thoreau could not separate himself from others. Indeed, he wrote a paean to it, by suppressing the details of his inevitable sociability. He states, "It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization, if only to learn what the gross necessaries of life are and what methods have been taken to obtain them" (9). He had a sense of philosophical system derived from the Transcendentalist movement and its various German and British influences. Thoreau lauds Brown as a man of principle, as one who resisted his governments institution of slavery as a matter of conscience; he represents what Thoreau called a majority of one in Civil Disobedience. His attack is now not merely on slavery in general but on his own states complicity with an immoral law.
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