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Abstract

Henry David Thoreau, a writer,
philosopher, naturalist and transcendentalist was known for his many writings.
He was constantly writing and rewriting his works due to his desire for
perfection. Henry was known for his most famous work, Walden. Walden was about his experiences in the two-year, two-month, and two-day
stay that he took at Walden Pond. Walden Pond has now become a state park and
has thousands of visitors each year. Thoreau was an adventurer and loved to
work alone, hence his trip to Walden Pond. Thoreau died at age 44 from
Tuberculosis and has since been remembered for the Transcendentalism movement
and his many writings.

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Henry David Thoreau

 

Introduction

Henry David Thoreau, an American
writer and philosopher was most known for his book Walden. Thoreau was also a
New England Transcendentalist. According to Merriam-Webster definition,
transcendentalism means he was part of the 19th century movement that valued
studying thought and intuition over scientific evidence. (Merriam-Webster’s
collegiate dictionary, 2017)

Born in July of 1817 in
Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau had two older siblings and eventually one
younger sibling. He began writing with his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson when he
was 23 years old. The book Walden was inspired by Thoreau’s two-year stay at Walden
Pond. (The
Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017, para. 2)

 

History

Henry David Thoreau attended
Harvard College, which is now Harvard University. He studied languages
including Greek, Latin, and German. Thoreau graduated in 1837 and pursued a job
as a teacher. He was fired from this position after two weeks because he
refused to beat the students. Thoreau then went job searching in Maine and
could not find anything. He came back to Massachusetts and opened a school
along with his brother John. Thoreau and his brother made sure that this school
did not enforce beating the students. Thoreau also influenced the students to
learn by doing and not by sitting and listening to a lecture. (The Editors of
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017, para. 1)

Henry’s brother John became sick in
1842. He was diagnosed with lockjaw which is known as tetanus now. It was
caused by an untreated wound and John died shortly after being diagnosed with
the tetanus. Thoreau began writing a story about the trip that he went on with
his brother John. This book became known as A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. (Brooks, 2017, para. 32)

Thoreau eventually decided to move
to the shore of Walden Pond, and stayed there for two years. His goal was to
have an easier life. He decided to work the least amount possible and spend
more time on his writings. This book explained his life living in nature. It
did not become popular until much later after its publishing. (The Biography.com
website,

 2018)

After his two years spent at Walden
Pond, Henry took care of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house while he was in Europe. In
1854, Thoreau wrote “Slavery in Massachusetts”, based on his abolitionist
views. (The
Biography.com website, 2018)

Later in his life, he battled
tuberculosis. He contracted this illness many years earlier but did not become
severely symptomatic until after he was sick with bronchitis. He had times
where his health would improve. Good health would last for awhile, but then
soon after he would return to his ill state. In May of 1862, Thoreau died of
this disease. (The Biography.com website,
2018)

 

Parks and Recreation

Henry David Thoreau is associated
with Walden Pond State Reservation because of his book, Walden. (Kole,
2017, para. 5) There are routes to walk around the famous pond, where Henry
himself had previously walked. There is also a replica of the cabin that Thoreau
lived in and  that he wrote about in his book Walden.
The 300-acre park is now operated by The Department of Conservation and
Recreation.

 

 

 

Accomplishments

Henry David Thoreau’s fame from his
book Walden brought thousands of visitors to Walden Pond State
Park. Ever since Thoreau stayed at Walden Pond, others began to visit the pond
and the woods for recreational purposes. Walden Pond was made into a public
park because Henry believed that nature is supposed to be enjoyed by everyone.
Thoreau was also against deforestation and emphasized nature preservation in
many of his works. (Abend, 2015)

 

Miscellaneous Facts

Henry David Thoreau led the
Transcendentalist movement. Transcendentalists believe in individualism and
self-reliance. (Trinayani, 2017)
Since his father ran a pencil company, Thoreau invented a machine that made a
higher quality pencil, made of graphite, lead and clay. (Trinayani, 2017) Henry accidentally burned a couple of acres
of the land while cooking fish. The wind spread the fire and burned a large
area of land. Thoreau’s actual name was not Henry David, it was David Henry. He
had his name legally changed to Henry David after graduating from college.
(Trinayani,
2017)

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