Henry David Thoreau Writing Styles in Walden

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First-Person Narration

Thoreau wrote Walden in the first person. He explains on the first page that, although "I" is omitted from most books, "it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking." In addition, he explains that the book is all about Thoreau himself. "I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well," he assures readers.

Because of its first-person narration, and because it is based on journals, readers often assume that Walden was written "off the cuff" or that its organization is informal or accidental. Nothing could be further from the truth. Thoreau spent seven years after his stay at Walden rewriting and revising his manuscript. He structured the book to suit his dual purposes of explaining how he lived and of urging readers to apply his experiences to their own lives. He compressed twenty-six months into...

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This section contains 627 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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.