Thoreau’s Use of Nature

Different from our view of nature as something to be preserved and untouched, Thoreau believes nature is something we should use in our effort to live simply.  He uses the bean field as a simpler means to produce one’s own food without feeding into a mass-producing society.  He also claims to “love [his] rows,” saying, “They attached me to the earth, and so I got great strength like Anteaus” (Walden 219).  He uses his bean field as a conduit through which to connect to the ground beneath his feet and establish a transcendent connection to his simple self.  Still, Thoreau acknowledges the potentially exploitative behavior, asking, “But what right had I to oust johnswort and the rest, and break up their ancient herb garden?” (Walden 220).  The content of this question indicates Thoreau’s awareness of his disruptive presence, something we have discussed at length in class.  By phrasing it as a rhetorical question, Thoreau invites his reader(s) to contemplate that question for themselves, while also, perhaps, reflecting his own lack of an answer.  Regardless, this stylistic choice enhances the quality of Thoreau’s journal, as it maintains his authenticity of thought while he is living and working by Walden Pond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *