Seasons Haikus
Journaling about Place

Walden Writing Prompt 3

Clothes and Shelter


Old Clothes Are Better Than New Ones

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. 

- Thoreau 


    Life isn’t about the “stuff” it’s about the experience. In the book, Walden, the first chapter “Economy” by Thoreau he writes about how it isn’t about the new clothes or shoes. This piece affected me because I sometimes think the opposite of what he is saying. On occasion, I get focused on the stuff rather than the experience. I get caught up in needing to compare myself to others even though I know I shouldn’t. I feel that Thoreau is trying to convey that humans naturally feel the need to belong and fit in with the right or most trendy clothes. 

    In the Clothes section of “Economy”, Thoreau argues that people are so focused on conformity that it makes us wear stupid clothes. The purpose of the clothes section is to explore the idea that focusing on the newest and trendiest clothes distracts us from finding our purpose and taking on new challenges. Thoreau says, “If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes.” It’s good to try new things in your old clothes. This is because our energy and focus should be on trying to uncover our talents and just buying new clothes is a waste of time. The second section of “Economy”, Shelter, Thoreau writes about how a shelter is really not that important. As Thoreau says, we can all live outdoors sleeping under the stars. He says, “It would be well, perhaps, if we were to spend more of our days and nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies.” 

    I didn’t necessarily find this piece exciting; however, it made me think. The concept of old and new clothes is extremely important in life. I will definitely take this to heart. It made me consider how much I notice when people wear new clothes and I am often impressed by that. On the BB&N revisit day, I was questioning wether to wear khakis or joggers. I was worried about feeling out of place or too dressed up. I knew that either way I would be fine but I realized how much we think about our clothes and conformity. These readings definitely changed the way that I see the world for the better.  

    People should be focused on finding their purpose in life rather than the latest shiny new thing. We may want fancy clothes or house but in the end who we are is what defines us. 


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Timmy Smith

This was really good. I liked the quotes that you used in the body paragraphs, and your conclusion was a great way to end it off. Great job.

Fru nkimbeng

Good job on this Matthew. You were able to fully explain what you thought about Thoreau’s opinions and where you disagreed or agreed. Good job

Ryan lewis

I really enjoyed the quotes you used int his essay, it really made me think about Thoreau’s wants and need. Good job.

Michael L

This is an excellent piece of writing Matt. You had great quote usage and really drawled the reader in with the opening.

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