“The Village” Reflection

When reading this chapter, I got a good sense of Thoreau’s attitude towards society.  He said that he ventured into the village every one or two days,  to “hear some of the gossip”. He writes about the village and the people in it much like he writes about nature- careful observation through a lens of fascination.  He describes the multitude of signs advertising businesses and people’s houses as “dangers”, mentioning that he normally managed to avoid them. He seems to have had a negative view on society, in that it made him uncomfortable to be in the village for too long, and he would “escape” to the woods soon after entering. I do wonder, though, if he disliked being in the village so much, why he returned every day or so. Perhaps he was just emphasizing the difference between the woods and the town, and had a curiosity about the society just as he had a curiosity about nature.  He tells the story of how he got arrested for not paying his taxes during one of his town visits. He tells the tale in a very frank, unworried way, suggesting that he does not consider society and its rules to apply to him, or to be a threat to him. His overall view on society seemed to be that he enjoyed venturing in to observe the people and the happenings, but he much preferred to escape back to the woods. My attitudes are a bit dissimilar to Thoreau’s, but perhaps that is because I have lived in society for my entire life, and have not had a chance to live in the woods for a long duration of time. Perhaps once you experience the natural life, you too would consider society strange and fascinating.

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