A First Impression
Coming into class on Friday, I thought Fitz was going to continue to bore me about his love for the poems he wrote on Crows and Swallows. Man was I wrong. Friday was instead a class where we supposedly read the first chapter of Walden. The reason why I say supposedly is because unfortunately when Fitz was reading to the class, I was distracted and I didn’t notice what we were doing, until he asked us about the notes and quotes we took. I quickly panicked and asked for help from a friend, since I knew I didn’t have anything written down. After getting the quotes and finding where we were on the reading, I still was confused. I asked myself “Why are we doing this?” Why is Fitz forcing us to read a book we never will need in life? Little did I know after reading this chapter called economy, Thoreau would open my mind and make me explore my thoughts in ways I never knew. What I took away from this chapter was that life is changing, and quickly, so live in the moment because once it’s over, there’s no going back. “One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.” Another thing I took away was that Thoreau’s words always have a deeper meaning to them.
Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, isn’t a book you can Lollygag through. You have to actually read and try to understand what he’s saying. It’s not always easy, but when you finally understand it, the book becomes a whole lot easier. While I was reading, this quote struck me and made me think for a while. “What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow.... Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new”. What I really liked about this quote was that it related to me. We are in a world where things change throughout time. Technology keeps on expanding, new ideas keep on emerging and we can’t look at the past as reference for help. Our parents and elders went through a different time we’re going through right now, which is why they always come to us for help. Whether it is with the newest iPhone, or the new trend that’s going on, they will never understand, because that’s not how they were brought up. That goes the same way for us kids. We will never understand the struggle of not having a reliable way to contact friends or having to walk to go places instead of calling Uber or Lyft.
After reading this chapter, I am truly a fan of Thoreau’s writing. He perfectly explains his opinions on things and uses specific background and reasons on why he believes this. I had to read this chapter around 4 times, and each time, I learned something new, and I understood what he meant better. Another quote that gave me struggles at first was “Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them”. After fighting with this quote over and over again I finally understood it. We humans are so distracted with getting money and what we desire that we forget to appreciate the small things (finer fruits) aka nature growing and blossoming before our very own eyes.
If you asked me what my opinions were on having to read a book by Thoreau, you would’ve gotten an answer somewhere along the lines of this is extremely stupid, and just another one those assignments where I am forced to complete. Which is sort of true; I am forced to read this, but that’s not the point. After finishing chapter 1, I have learned a lot about Thoreau’s writing style and I can’t wait to continue reading. If it wasn’t for Thoreau’s unique ways of expressing his thoughts, I never would’ve wanted to keep on reading. I’ll leave you with this quote that started my interest of wanting to know what Thoreau was saying. “One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.”