Conclusion Notes from Walden

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Walden Conclusion

It is important to travel and have a varied experience, but that can be had just by refusing to be fenced in by the physical fences we build around our land.

"we think that if rail-fences are pulled down, and stone-walls piled up on our farms, bounds are henceforth set to our lives and our fates decided. If you are chosen town clerk, forsooth, you cannot go to Tierra del Fuego this summer: but you may go to the land of infernal fire nevertheless. The universe is wider than our views of it." Conclusion, pg. 254

Don't explore land - explore yourself and your vastness. He talks about disobeying laws to learn about the sacred laws of society, and says that there are far more sacred laws than those of society, especially because of the absence of a just government in the world.

Topic Tracking: Awakening for Reform 6

"I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the Highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now." Conclusion, pg. 257

Thoreau feels that it is important not to be discouraged, but rather to pursue the truth of one's life.

"In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty, nor weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Conclusion, pg. 257

Do not think that it is of utmost importance to speak so others will understand you. That is a mistake of the English and Americans. You should be able to communicate with your ox, and remember the truth. That is the most important language to know. Language does not do justice to the truth, because it merely translates it.

Topic Tracking: Awakening for Reform 7

Common sense is dull, and is like men snoring and sleeping. However, do not despair if you are not part of a great civilization. Be the best of that mediocre civilization that you can.

After these admonishments, Thoreau tells a made up story about a man from Kouroo, a made up city in India, who spent his life trying to carve the perfect walking stick, and so outlasted civilization. He outlived all other life in the world because his time slowed down, it was so sacred.

Even if you are poor, the sun looks the same to you and a rich man. If you are poor, you deal with the most important and basic experiences of your life, and are richer for your attention to those things.

"As I stand over the insect crawling amid the pine needles on the forest floor, and endeavoring to conceal itself from my sight, and ask myself why it will cherish those humble thoughts, and hide its head from me who might, perhaps, be its benefactor, and impart to its race some cheering information, I am reminded of the greater Benefactor and Intelligence that stands over me the human insect." Conclusion, pg. 263

Do not think that we cannot change the world. Take an example from Nature, which is constantly changing, and bringing great changes to people's lives.

Topic Tracking: Water 9

Water has changed the landscape around us dramatically, and may do so again. Nature will live on and change around us all the time. Any regular person may not realize this, but the light must come up. The morning star, the sun, must rise and continue to circle, and so these truths will continue on.

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