Sunday, February 21, 2016

Thoreau's argument

Henry David Thoreau in “Walden” created the idea that simplicity is the key to living life. Thoreau’s idea about simplicity should be taken in account in today's world.

Thoreau states “Food, shelter, clothing, and fuel” (11). These four items in life are what are “necessary of life,” yet he emphasizes that man will want more; man only wants more because man never gets fulfilled. Today, people have the greatest material item but when they see someone with a greater one they emulate them. Thoreau states “I went to the woods...I did not wish to live what was not life” (80). This statement by Thoreau illustrates that because he went to the woods he uncovered the meaning of living. If he hadn't gone to the woods he would've never known he wasn't living life. Being in the woods, proved to Thoreau that a man needs to learn how to appreciate necessities. Since people today are surrounded by technology they don't appreciate what life has to offer as necessities.Thoreau questioned whether living his life was truly living life.

On the other hand, people argue against Thoreau’s ideas of simplicity when saying that people shouldn't focus on four essentials when life can offer many more. This is true but “Our life is frittered away by detail” (Thoreau 81). If man has many essentials in life, man will only focus on the materials in life. In today's world people should be pleased with having any materials, but when they see people with better they aspire. People should be satisfied with the needed and not the wanted in life.

Thoreau's ideals in the 1800’s connect to the 21st century because in this world people focus more on materials in life and this is preventing people from actually living life.


  1. Very clear and straightforward with good analysis. Counterargument is coherent and wraps up your main point of what Thoreau's main position is.

  2. Your essay is well written. I think you should focus more on other ways people can appreciate what they have oppose to living in the woods. Overall, you target both sides of the pro's and con's and that's good!

  3. Good job on addressing the counter argument and having a clear rebuttal, I liked your analysis and interpretation of what Thoreau's argument was.