Like in Johnsons Woods, a board walk led us through the woods in Browns Bog. For this, I was glad, since without the boardwalk we would be trudging through ankle high water. Having discussed the conflict of the boardwalk at Johnsons woods, I didn’t think much of the one at Browns Bog. Aside from a couple of cardinals and the sounds of our feet as we walked, it was pretty quiet. I was most excited about seeing the pitcher plant, as I had never seen one before. I was expecting to have to take a while looking for them, but to my surprise the bog was filled with them. As we stood at the middle of the board walk and talked about the history of Browns Bog, I was surprised to learn that the poison sumac was introduced to the bog by humans. I could also not help but get distracted by the fact that the side of the board, on which I stood, was sinking.
“By the words, necessary of life, I mean whatever, of all that man obtains by his own exertions, has been form the first, or from long use has become, so important to human life that few, if any, whether from savages, or poverty, or philosophy, ever attempt to do without it.”(Thoreau, pg.120)
In this section, Thoreau lays out the necessities of man: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. He seems to view these things as things that make humans weak, especially those who are civilized. He compares the savages’ hardiness to the cold weather to the civilized man’s inability to be warm enough even with clothes. He also mentions the selfishness of humans who do anything to obtain their necessities of life, as he states, “with our beds,…robbing the nests and breasts of birds to prepare this shelter…”(Thoreau, pg.121). We are able to see Thoreau’s attitude toward materialistic items and simple life, in his response to comforts/luxuries. As he talks about society’s need of excess material, he puts himself apart from them, bringing up that as a philosopher one should live a life of simplicity (as he does).
In this chapter, I was able to get a better understanding Thoreau’s attitude toward society. He begins by stating that he likes company like any other man. He talks about the visitors who pass by his home in the woods, mostly focusing on a 28-year-old Canadian woodchopper and post maker, whom he doesn’t name. He describes him as a simple-minded, quiet, natural and solitary happy man. Thoreau mentions that the man was so immersed in his “animal life”, he was unsure whether he was “wise as Shakespeare or as simply ignorant as a child”. Thoreau seems to respect the man’s simplistic life, but still sees him as inferior, due to his lack of education. Even though the man was in touch with nature, it still wasn’t enough to compare to Thoreau’s intellectual mind, according to him.