Notes on Characters from Walden

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Walden Major Characters

Henry David Thoreau: Author of Walden. A Naturalist, political activist and frequent speaker in Concord, MA, his home. Walden is a journal of his first year in a small shack near Walden Pond with absolutely no luxuries of modern life. Thoreau is most famous for Walden and his essay, 'Civil Disobedience.'

Minor Characters

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Novelist, and next owner of Thoreau's boat.

James Collins: An Irishman from whom Thoreau buys boards for his cabin. The wood is from Collins' cabin, which he sells to Thoreau, who then dismantles it and carts it to Walden.

William Ellery Channing the younger: Poet, close friend of Thoreau's, and a frequent visitor to Walden Pond. Thoreau writes a dialogue between a hermit and a poet, who is modeled after Channing, in Chapter 12. Channing later wrote a biography of Thoreau: Thoreau, The Poet Naturalist.

A Canadian (Aleck Therien): A wood-chopper who visited Thoreau at Walden in the winter, and whom Thoreau found to be exceptionally pure of spirit.

Mr. Gilian Baker: The owner of a fantastic 'winged cat' that Thoreau made a special visit to see, but who was not around when he called. Mr. Baker gave Thoreau a pair of the 'wings' - long, matted flaps of fur - from the cat, which Thoreau kept for years.

Cato Ingraham: The slave of Duncan Ingraham, a lawyer from Concord, who lived, until his death only a few years after Thoreau left the woods, in a house built by his owner in the woods near Walden Pond.

Zilpha Ingraham: A 'colored woman' who lived for years very near to where Thoreau built his cabin, until her house was burnt by English soldiers during the war of 1812. She sang loudly while at home, and had a shrill voice.

Brister and Fenda Freeman: Brister was once a slave of Squire Cummings, but was then freed, as his last name implies. They lived on Brister's Hill, down the road from Walden Pond. Brister fought and died in the battle of Lexington and Concord. Fenda made her living telling fortunes.

Wyman the Potter: A potter who had lived very close to the pond, and who sold his goods in Concord.

Col. Hugh Quoil: An Irishman who lived in Wyman the Potter's house after Wyman passed away. He was the last inhabitant of Walden before Thoreau moved in. He dug ditches, but had apparently been a soldier prior to that.

'Another welcome visitor' (A. Bronson Alcott): A friend of Thoreau's and the father of author Louisa May Alcott. He was a Transcendentalist who spent many evenings talking and debating with Thoreau in his cabin. Thoreau thought very highly of Alcott's character.

'one other' (Ralph Waldo Emerson): Another close friend of Thoreau's. He was also a Transcendentalist and hired Thoreau as a handyman. He then connected Thoreau to many publishers, an act that later enabled Thoreau to squat at Walden.

Sam Nutting: A hunter who used to hunt bears in Concord in exchange for rum. Bears were no longer seen around Walden

John Field: A poor Irish immigrant who lives in the rundown house at Baker Farm.

John Farmer: A man who heard a flute one evening when he sat down to think. The flute awakened a different part of himself than his work--the flute brought him away from that sphere entirely, and he began to think about universal truths.

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