A journey through essays
“Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them.”
Over the years at Fenn, we have read countless books and stories, such as The Odyssey, Call of the Wild, and Moby Dick, but none of those have been as profound as Walden. Walden is a legendary book of essays by Henry David Thoreau, that we have to read in English over the next few weeks. Thoreau was a Concord writer who stayed in a cabin on Walden pond that he built. He stayed there for approximately 2 years, two months and two days. When I was reading this, I felt I was reading something special. While I didn’t feel the profound connection Fitz felt, I understood why this is treasured. Even though I liked this a lot, I have no idea why it’s called economy as it has no connection to economy at all. Throughout my reading of Economy, 2 things stuck out to me: it is better to have to work for your goals instead of being born with them, and that older generations will tell you to do things how they did them but times are changing and so are experiences.
Quote#1: “Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in.”
Many of us are born with many advantages in life which all add up towards our end goals. However, many of our goals are molded to us by our parents or family, and not discovered by us. Thoreau states that men are better off being born without many advantages, we might have a better chance at surviving and thriving on our own. If we shaped our goals ourselves, we might be able to achieve them better. While I do agree with some of what Thoreau says in this quote, I do believe that sometimes our parents or family helping shape our goals and be really helpful. With me, I want to either be a dancer or work as an imagineer at Disney. I wouldn’t have even thought of those without the influence of my family. I have been a fan of Disney since my mom and dad were big fans, and my sister and my mom have danced all their lives paving the way for me to start dancing when I was five. I wouldn’t be where I am without my family behind me, but I can’t help but imagine what my life would be without them.
Quote#2 “Practically, the old have no very important advice to give the young, their own experience has been so partial, and their lives have been such miserable failures, for private reasons, as they must believe; and it may be that they have some faith left which belies that experience, and they are only less young than they were.”
Older generations will try and tell us advice and while some of it is helpful, many of it is not. Comments that begin with “when I was your age” are not particularly important to our growth. Even though they have lived longer lives with different experiences, they still try to teach us things from their own life that aren’t relevant today. The older generations are great at giving advice when you ask for it but not exactly when you don’t. For example, my grandpa teaches me to be respectful, and helpful, and be the the type of person to hold the door for other people. I understand how he was very successful from working hard but I don’t really have time to hold a job right now with school and my activities. So when someone tells me that my grandpa had a job when he was my age, I don’t know how to respond. Some comments are better left without response if you don’t know what to say.
Henry David Thoreau’s writing was definitely influential and his words changed how I think about things. When I first heard we were going to read Walden, I was kind of disappointed because I thought it would be long and boring. While I do think it is long, and the readings hard, I believe I can get through it because it is very interesting and profound. Overall, I can’t wait to read much more of the writings of Thoreau.