Walden - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1 Summary

The opening chapter of Walden consists of Thoreau's criticism of the way that people lived in his day. With the second chapter, "Economy" creates the first of a series of structured paradoxes in the text. In "Economy," Thoreau analyzes the excess and complication of his contemporaries' lives.

The chapter opens with an anticipation of criticism of Thoreau's use of the first person. He endeavors to justify the accounts of his personal experiences by expressing that his neighbors and acquaintances showed an interest in his life at the time. People were asking him about every detail of his life, such as what he ate, how he felt, etc. He then proceeds to discuss the failure of his contemporaries to simplify their lives, addressing his readers intimately in his rhetoric to instill their sympathies for the "inhabitants." He also exercises his knowledge of...

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This section contains 1,517 words
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Buy the Walden Study Guide
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Walden from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.