Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Susan Stoiber

H.D. Thoreau

H. D. Thoreau desired to simplify his lifestyle; therefore, he visited Walden Pond several times within a two year period in order to “live off of the land.” His compilation of nature essays focus on his experience of daily life at Walden Pond including his self-sufficiency and his disdain for the modern lifestyle.

He explains how nature renews one’s soul, and how one only needs the bare minimum for survival. Modern conveniences are destroying the purity of nature, and Thoreau observes how nature now bears the marks of man’s touch such as the railroads that cut through the land and the ice pickers on the pond.

In Walden Thoreau writes, "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

He seems to equate the dependence on modern conveniences to a form of slavery — we are slaves to these conveniences.

Sign at Walden

Thoreau’s Cabin

H.D. Thoreau