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April 2019

Thoreau’s Views on Charity

Why Thoreau Dosen’t Like Charity

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“I have made some sacrifices to a sense of duty, and among others have sacrificed this pleasure also.”

—Thoreau

    Charity can be a great thing. In the chapter “Economy” in the book, Walden, Henry David Thoreau gives the reader his thinking on the flaws of charity. Thoreau describes his dislike for charity by saying that people don’t take advantage of it, and, he would try to get as far away from it if anyone were to try to offer him money. The people who do charitable work should focus more on the good of life then the bad.

 

    Thoreau begins by stating that he doesn’t participate in charity partly because the people who receive it don’t necessarily put it to the right causes. He then goes on by saying that he has tried it and it doesn’t agree with what he stands for, but he doesn’t look down upon the people who participate in it. He describes what he would do if he were to find out that he would be receiving charity:

 

“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life, as from that dry and parching wind of the African deserts called the simoom, which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust till you are suffocated, for fear that I should get some of his good done to me- some of its virus mingled with my blood.”

—Thoreau

 

Thoreau states that charity is so against his ideals that if he were to receive it, it would almost be a threat on his life. This is the first part of this section in the book where Thoreau describes his opposition to the subject by making it personal. Another interesting part of this quote was when Thoreau suggests that charity is almost a virus that infects you. This reveals that he thinks that charity catches you by surprise and leaves you in a worse position than you were before. After this passage Thoreau goes on to tell people to stop worrying about the bad things in everyone’s lives and to focus on what is good about life in general.

 

    Thoreau’s attitude towards charity stays the same throughout the rest of the section but in the last paragraph he turns his focus to something different. He shows us how we should worry about the good things and not dwell on other people misfortunes in this short life we live. 


Power of Place

    My Favorite Place at Fenn

 

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“A place is only as good as the people in it.”
Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four

    You need a special place in your life. My special place at Fenn has to be Fitz’s room. I have spent a boat load of time in his room over the past two years and I have never felt more relaxed at school. In the upper school many of the students use Fitz’s room as a hang out space. Whenever I have time I go up there to talk and chill with friends. Earlier this year about half of the ninth grade including me decided to hang out in Fitz’s room after sports were done. We all just talked about schools, sports and video games. We were getting close to having to start applications and we were nervous. I was talking with Tucker, Timmy and Ryan about what schools we were all applying to. Everyone else was talking about similar things. Then someone said that we should play the marble game. The marble game is a game where we all gather around Fitz’s big, round Harkness table and put a marble on it and then we would all blow the marble around the table. We played this while laughing and having pure fun. I think this is one of the experiences that made me really love that room. We just had so much freedom in that room which isn’t something I can say about any other place at Fenn. We feel as though we should have more freedom because we are the oldest students at Fenn but our teachers don’t seem to think that way. Fitz’s room provides the upper schoolers especially the ninth grade with a space where we can hang out and have freedom. So there are lots of other rooms at Fenn that I like, but none of them provide the freedom of Fitz’s room.


A Reflection

 

My Last Time

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    It was a cool, overcast and somewhat rainy patriots day. I was standing in formation with the rest of my band preparing for the more then two hour parade we were about to embark on. While we were waiting I began to reflect. I looked back on all the past five years of band. This being my sixth and final year at Fenn I was prepared to know that this would be my last patriots day parade in Concord. This was my fourth time doing this parade so I wasn’t new to it but this time felt special. I never liked marching in the band and resented even the thought of what was to come in those next hours. But I knew that I had to make this an experience to remember. So as we began to go. I had a smile on my face, a determination in my heart and a feeling in my stomach that I will never forget. It was the feeling that I will never do this specific thing again, and this feeling is very similar to the feeling I will have after graduating Fenn. And it truly is an interesting feeling. So yes, playing in marching band is a drag, but it was well worth its while.


Wants Verse Needs

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“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
Philip Pullman

 

There are few true necessities in life. In class we are reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. In the first chapter, “Economy,” Thoreau explains his opinions on the differences between wants and needs. Thoreau tries to separate the necessities of everyday life, and the wants that people value too much. Related to every day necessities he stated this in the “clothing” reading, “I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.“ His perspective is very down to earth because he wrote this book while living on only the bare necessities of life.

 

It is hard to get a true perspective of needs from someone who has everything so Thoreau separated himself from the rest of the world to understand the true necessities of life. One of the true necessities of life for all of man kind is shelter which everybody knows. Thoreau explains one of the things wrong with shelter in this world in this quote, 

  

“In the savage state every family owns a shelter as good as the best, and sufficient for its coarser and simpler wants; but I think that I speak within bounds when I say that, though the birds of the air have their nests, and the foxes their holes, and the savages their wigwams, in modern civilized society not more than one half the families own a shelter. In the large towns and cities, where civilization especially prevails, the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole. (Thoreau)”  

 

Although this is a very long quote it really explains the problem with shelter we have. It says that only about one half of families in the world own their own shelter. Think about that. Then think about that all the animals in the world have their own shelters which they live in for free. It shows that humans are too greedy and don’t really care about the good of all humanity, but their own personal gain. Shelter is one of the main necessities of life so I agree with Thoreau in the fact that us, as humans, don’t have our priorities set straight. He says that we focus on the wrong things in life, taking necessities for granted and only caring about wants. So yes, I completely agree with Thoreau and his ideals. I believe that his time in isolation has helped him see clearly in the ways of the world.

 

I think that Thoreau’s way of writing and ideas have really opened my eyes to a more advanced type of literature, and new ideals to ponder. It is undeniable that his way of crafting sentences is unmatched, but I love his ability to put hidden meanings in sentences, things to make the reader think about what the sentence means. Although I have thought about the true necessities of life, Thoreaus writing has made me think deeper and more thoroughly then I ever have before (No pun intended). I think this book so far has had a very good impact on me. It has made me think about things I have never thought about before, it has given me the ability to understand a more complex style of writing, and it has allowed me to uncover hidden meanings and life lessons within his sentences. 

 

Thoreau has an old style of complex writing but being a ninth grader and learning how to understand his writing style has taught me much. The way he talks about the necessities of life in this book so far has really made me understand his way of thinking.


Haikus

Spring

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The spiked tree fruit

Hanging off the long, thin branches

Begins to fall

 

The dead, grey grass

On the high open hill

Begins to grow

 

The ninth grade boys

Ready for the end of the year

Argue over Snapchat.

 

The Fenn school library

A quiet, tranquil place

Is not so quiet

 

These were the first haikus I have written in a while. I tried to add cool twists to these ones to make them sound better. Also spring is probably my favorite season so they were very easy to write. I hope we can write more of these

 

Summer

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The small tan boy

Playing in the large green field

Gets burned by the sun

 

The tall green trees

Basking in the sunlight

Prepares to get cut down

 

The small not air conditioned car

In between Phoenix and Las Vegas

Begins to break down

 

The long yellow beach

Up against the bright blue sea

Begins to disappear

 

Summer is probably my favorite season if not second favorite season. It is very easy to write about because it is the time of year all kids want it to be. I tried to make some cool twists with this one. 

 

Fall

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As the trees prepare for winter

Their leaves start change

Then fall off of their branches 

 

The hot sunny days 

Become cooler

As the earth moves away from the sun

 

Kids of all ages get angry

And stop playing

To go back to school

 

The long yellow beaches

Become deserted

As people go back home

 

In these I just tried to make straight foreword and add some imagery to make these sound better. These were fun to make because I feel like there is so much happening in the fall. I hope I can make mor of these sometimes.

 

 

Winter

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The small kid cry’s

On Christmas Day

Because there is no snow

 

I run outside

To play with my brother

Because it is fifty degrees

 

The lone wolf

Walks slowly through the forest

Home for dinner

 

Kids stare out their windows

In awe 

To see the construction in the snow

 

With these haikus I tried to put foreword an idea with the first two lines and then add a cool twist at the end. I really tried hard to make these Haikus as good as possible. I had a lot of fun making these. Winter is a very interesting season to write about so I hope these turned out well.


Necessities

There are some things that are truly important in ones life.

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It would be useful to live a simple life at the forefront of our growing civilization to learn what is truly necessary in my life and how to get it; or look at merchants journals to see what the population lives off of (Necessities paragraph 2).

 

There are many essentials in life. Food, water and shelter are the bare essentials of survival but in the society we live in today we don’t need to worry as much about survival. The basic necessities for me at this point in my life are happiness, family, friendship and education. I say happiness because it adds meaning to my life. Doing fun things to get a happy feeling is one of the ways most people get through life. I also say Family because you have a group of people who love you no matter what, only want the best for you, protect you and push you to do your best. Also friendship. Friendship is a means to have other people in your life that care about you outside of your family. These social relationships are very important to one’s life. And last but not least education. Education is an extension of social life. You make friends and meet new people but you also learn what you must do by using what people have discovered in the past. These are some of the things that make me happy and allow me to get through life in the best way possible.