Clothes and Shelter

Timmy Smith

Economy Literary Reflection

Fitz’s Class



What you want isn’t always what you need

- Anonymous

    The truth can be difficult. In English class, we are reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, more specifically the first chapter, “Economy.” In this chapter, Thoreau made me think deeply about how, as human beings, we often get our wants and needs mixed up. Thoreau may have been writing in the 1800’s, but all of the things that he talks about are still relevant today. People, including me, continue to buy the most expensive clothes and the fanciest houses. I agree with what Thoreau is saying, and he made me think about why I wear what I wear and live where I live.


    In this part of the chapter “Economy”, Thoreau talks about the things that we really need in life and the difference between need and want. He starts the chapter by talking about clothes, and how there is no need for fancy or expensive clothes. Thoreau warns us to, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” Society has a misconception that clothes make you who you are, and you must have nice clothes to make a good impression. You must always beware of places you work, or anything else, that requires you to change your appearance, because they might not understand that your appearance is less important than your personality. A second point that Thoreau made is that we do not need fancy and expensive houses, and “the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it.” Thoreau brings up the important question of whether you want to exchange more of your life for an expensive house, or whether you would want a less expensive house that works just as well. People are too focused on having the bigger house, or the nicer possessions, that they lose sight of what really matters in life. 


    Thoreau pointed out many things that were wrong in his time that are still relevant issues now, and I agree with many of the points that he made. He pointed out that “Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have.” You don’t need all of the newest and fanciest things to live a good life. It is what is inside that matters. I had always kind of new this fact, but I had never thought about it deeply until reading Thoreau. He made me think whether or not I even need the clothes that I am wearing, and what the cost was to my parents of me having clothes. Thoreau may be from a time far before us, but he brings up things that even I can relate to as a 15 year old boy.


    What cost are you willing to pay?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


You make some really good points in this essay.I thought both your opening quote and your closing question leave the reader with a lot to think about. Good post.

Fru nkimbeng

Good job on this I really loved your last sentence in your conclusion as it lead me to what you were going to talk about in the next paragraphs. You also did a great job explaining the quotes.

Ryan Lewis

Good job on this essay, I really liked you body paragraphs, they explained your thoughts very well. Good job.


Well done. Your piece is really precise. There were a lot of masculine words. I was really well written. You also did a great job of using quotes. Good job.


Brilliant job in this essay, these body paragraphs explained a lot and I was able to connect on many levels.

Michael L

You made some excellent point s in this piece of work Tim, I especially loved your quote.


I think that the best part of this piece is the ending and the opening paragraph. Your opening sets up the feast of the piece well and is interesting to read grabbing the readers attention. You last sentence leaves the reader with a lot to think about. Nice jobs timmy

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)