Henry David Thoreau’s Walden vs the Test of Time

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden premiered a message that still repeats itself in modern contexts. His passion for nature and insistence on learning from our environment was based mostly just on his own experiences, but as time, science, and technology has advanced, we see more and more evidence to support his 1846 claims.

The words in Thoreau’s Walden are dated. His language is much more complex and antiquated than the modern world’s. Whether it’s his writing of “to-day” (pp. 223, Thoreau, ebook), his verbiage in many sentences like the phrase “some question had been put to me” (pp. 282, Thoreau, ebook), or words he uses like “tafferel” (pp. 320, Thoreau, eBook), his language is outdated. However, this effect applies to almost every writing at that time. The complex, antiquated language does not make the writing any worse, but it makes the writing harder to read for modern audiences. The content of what he was saying, moreover, has translated into modern contexts nonetheless.

The actual story of Walden and contents of Thoreau’s writings are more appealing now than ever, as we are living in a climate crisis that exceeds the concerns from Walden’s time. His philosophies, about how humans interact with, disrupt, and abandon their natural environments, have only been reinforced and further proven since its publication. Many of us could learn from doing as Thoreau did, and realize the importance of preserving natural spaces. Going further, we could all spend a little more time with ourselves, away from our technology and extreme communication. 

Work Cited

  • Thoreau, H. D., Shanley, J. L., & Updike, J. (2016). Walden. Princeton University Press.

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