The materialistic value of things is wildly overrated. People spend so much time buying piles of clothes and gadgets they believe will make them happier and more well-liked. In Henry David Thoreau's book Walden he talks about clothing and shelter, he speaks on how living on the absolute bare minimum can be an incredible and eye-opening experience. He talks about how it has become normal for people to work their whole life for a bigger house when really, a bigger house makes you no happier than before. He also writes on how we are slaves to fashion and having more stuff with fancy brand names makes us no more appealing to others and no happier.
Thoreau talks about, in his clothing section of the essay, what one wears is not an art. The way I interpreted him saying this is that being artistic is a talent, because it requires skill, being fashionable is only for those who can afford to be. If wearing clothes that are stylish was an art then one could simply just buy their way to the top. He goes on to explain how people are constantly buy new clothing and wearing it only while it’s still in style, "Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.” When he starts speaking on shelter as a necessity. He talks about people who spend their whole life working get a big house, but for thousands and thousands of years people lived in caves or wooden structures or tents, the truth is we would be perfectly fine without our big fancy houses, we are just so used to them that we would be helpless without them. If society reverted back to its old ways of living in caves etc. gradually things would be fine and people would still be happy.
I believe the ideas that Thoreau has got his readers to ponder are very interesting and thought provoking. Also, Thoreau explains these thoughts so well that they can make anyone stop and think. The world back then was a 100 times more simple than it is now and that makes him even more correct in his views on clothing and shelter evolution. There is surely a reason why he has become one of the most famous and well liked writers ever. His thoughts are just so interesting and he explores them so perfectly with clear effort not into each word of each sentence. Thoreau is a great writer, I really appreciate his delicate sentences and deep thought. Everything about his writing style fits me as a reader and I can’t wait to read more of his incredible essays
Thoreau's essays get people thinking about new things. I feel like Thoreau is the type of person to have quotes on one of those "Thought For The Day" calendars and he would be perfect for it. In these essay he has people now, in the 21st century thinking about living primitive lives. If we gave up or homes, clothing money, video games, gadgets etc. Would it really be that bad?