Thoreau: The Ponds

On page 243, Thoreau describes the lake as “the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next to the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.”

When I first read this, I was sure that he was likening nature to a human face. Looking back at it, there is not necessarily any language that would indicate that this is necessarily a human face; rather, it could be describing the face of another animal. It made me wonder whether this anthropomorphic perspective was completely my own, or whether Henry David Thoreau was, in fact, intentionally trying to compare this natural setting to a human face. Perhaps he assumed that readers would automatically connect this description to that which they are familiar with: a human face.

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