Walden - Study Guide Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

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Thoreau did not, despite his sporadic claims, live a life of solitary confinement at the cabin by Walden Pond. He did, as the eighth chapter demonstrates, visit a nearby village regularly, he claims, to hear some of the local gossip. However, in the first paragraph of this chapter, Thoreau attempts to inject a purpose of observation into his visits, comparing his forest hikes to observe birds to his trips to the village to observe people.

He describes the men that he sees in the street sunning themselves while sitting on ladders or leaning against barns. Thoreau associates these men with the outdoors, and thus also Nature; he calls them "worthies," suggesting how highly Thoreau regards the men. In discussing the pastime of gossiping, Thoreau creates a metaphor of a mill. The men in the street are the most basic mill, in which the gossip is...

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This section contains 353 words
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Walden from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.