"There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted."
Although all the sections of Walden held many relationships both socially and politically to modern day, I found that this final section stood out above the others. The main contrast that this section held was the fact the Thoreau is no longer criticizing the bad things that the community does, but now the 'good' things. The Fallacy in Philanthropy literally means the falsehood in community service. Thoreau says that we help the less fortunate is wrong. As he says, "give the poor the aid they most need" for they are needy, but it is the way that we simply give it to them that digs them into a deeper hole. I found this completely applies to how life is today. If the poor are unwilling to work for what they need, what are we doing by giving it to them? Thoreau says that "the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross." but similar to society today, "If you give him money, he will perhaps buy more rags with it." He talks about how he did not pity the raggedy clothed irishmen who cut ice from the pond. When one of them fell in however, Thoreau decided to help him and offer clothing, but the man did not need it, for he had enough of his own clothes. I found this really interesting, and it caused to me to ask; how should we help the poor and needy? Low and behold Thoreau answers it, he says to not be "an overseer of the poor," but instead "endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world."
“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime,”
Thoreau starts off this section with a lesson of traveling. From his own experience, he teaches "that the swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot." Although this has literal meaning, for by the time it takes you to save up to buy a bus fare and go to some place, you could already be there if you walked. It also could be translated to, what you have will work, you just have to put some effort into it. I took this as the overarching theme of Money and Work. Today, there is a surplus of people that have the capabilities to be self sufficient, but simply do not not want to work. As Thoreau says, "None is so poor that he need sit on a pumpkin" or in short, anyone can work to get they want. Sure, there are people that are physically unable, but the majority of people in poverty can, and I think this should be enforced more today. With an almost minimalist kind of approach, Thoreau goes on to show that living off the bare essentials can cost almost nothing. He describes his way of living with a "I have what I need, and nothing more is required" attitude. In my eyes, anyone of capable of living this way, but for the vast majority, luxuries are too tempting; once you experience them it's hard to go back, “It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.”. In conclusion, everyone can work to earn what is necessary to them, it just requires a little elbow grease.
American teenagers require about 9-1/4 hours of sleep a night, yet only 8 percent of them are getting it.
-National Sleep Foundation
Sleep; a sought after action that seem so far, but so close. As the toils of a more advanced curriculum have caused more time to be devoted strictly to school, those much needed Zs are reduced. My fellow classmates will attest that the combination of sports and extracurricular activities leaves minimal time to study. Although I think this is necessary-- for it is important to be prepared for our next academic adventures-- some times I question the way education is carried out as a whole. For what reason are we depriving the nations youth sleep in the most delicate developmental stages of their lives? To hammer Algebra into their brains? To make sure that they know what Evaporation is? I get it, homework is practice to enforce concepts introduced in the day, but is that worth inducing stress and sleep deprivation into children that should be playing outside or being with friends? This boggles my mind. A problem arises from this, for a child gets home at 6:00, has dinner, does homework until 10:30. He then must get up at 6:30 to go to school. Thats only 8 hours of sleep, a whole hour behind the needed 9 hours for a growing kid. Something needs to be changed. But alas, I am the student, and not the teacher.
"There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest."
The Experiment takes a step back. Instead of writing from his position in the woods, Thoreau uses a more narrative style of writing to show how he got there. Unlike the other sections, The Experiment was less of a analytical view of society, and more about himself. This was a surprise to me, for I have become accustomed to his observance of others. Still, I found speculation within the writing. Something that caught my attention was the way he compared his own experiences to that of the rest of the the land. The pleasure of building his own house had made him question why other people wouldn't do it themselves, "Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?". Almost like bragging, he says that the most interesting dwellings are "the most unpretending, humble log huts and cottages of the poor commonly;" But this was a not a surprise for me; it would have been strange to criticize the way of life of the common man if he was the same way, wouldn't it?. There was one sentence that did catch me off guard though, after asking why citizens wouldn't construct their own houses, he says, 'We belong to the community." This was abnormal to read, for most of Thoreau's writing had been from a third person view, separating himself from others. Thoreau goes on to show the exact price of his home, almost like a receipt. As he says, "I give the details because very few are able to tell exactly what their houses cost,". This made me appreciate how little one can live off of happily. Besides the price, it really shows that Thoreau wanted to live down to the essentials. For me, this enhances my reading experience even more than it already has.
"Most men appear never to have considered what a house is,
The next installments in Walden covered clothes and shelter, quite intuitive after reading about necessities. Once again, I noticed that Thoreau talks from his outside-of-society view.
He speaks about clothing with distaste. He believes that there is no need for new clothes for you can make the old work. "A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do..." I agree with this to some extent. Today, there is many instances where a person will buy new shoes, or a new jacket when the one said person already has, is sufficient. But the ensuing line pushes the thought to a much stronger level, saying that there is no need to buy anything and what you have will work,"bare feet are older than shoes, and he can make them do...". Although in theory this can work, many unnecessary hardships arise from it.
Succeeding Clothes, came the section known as Shelter. As always, Thoreau's words are repugnant towards the necessities of the regular man. He does not deny that shelter is unimportant, for every animal has a shelter, but what humans have made it into, is. Similar to clothing, Thoreau's "if it isn't broken don't fix it" attitude falls in sharp contrast to the accessorizing ways of the common folk. "However, if one designs to construct a dwelling-house, it behooves him to exercise a little Yankee shrewdness,". I believe this is true, although I fall victim to it myself. In truth, we do need anything but a house away from the elements, but the temptation for impractical comforts is too high. Another thought-provoking section of Shelter talked about the strangeness of mortgages and loans. "in modern civilized society not more than one half the families own a shelter." This really is bizarre when you think about it.
I am impressed once more of how Thoreau is able to see all these everyday experiences with such an alien view. His writing is like a slap in the face, saying "Wake Up!" to society. I find it extremely intriguing.
"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind."
The succeeding section to the introduction was necessities, a look into what men really need. Right off the start, Thoreau says that fundamentally, a man needs nothing but food and shelter. But in order for that to be true, a man has to be completely oblivious to the many comforts that are put in front of him. I do agree with this, for many modern day things that we consider necessary are in fact very dispensable, but because we use them everyday, they become 'indispensable' as Thoreau says. Something I found interesting was how he says he doesn't speak to the well employed, and instead his words are directed towards the majority of men who are not satisfied with their lives and complain about how hard it is. I personally felt like this section was all over the place. At first he talked about the section name, necessities. But then he veered off a metaphor using philosophy and professors of philosophy as examples ("There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers"). I though these were appropriate, but a large monologue about philosophy followed. It got seemingly more random from there. Eventually ending with talking about arising early in the morning and the ice trade in Walden. Im sure this all has some underlying meaning that laces it all together, but at first glance this section's theme was not as clear as the introduction. I am interested to see where He will go from here.
Today in class we examined the first section of Walden by Henry David Thoreau, the introduction. Right off the start I noticed the constant use of difficult vocabulary. Unlike many others, I enjoy literature with a more advanced use of words because it allows me to learn and add to my own vocabulary constantly (especially on the Ipads). I noticed the Thoreau writes with an air of cynicism, or at least he did during these first couple pages. Because of his experience outside of normal life, in the woods, he speaks about society as if he was spectating it from a seat out side of this world; but in some respects he was. Despite of this he did make many points that I myself would agree with. One line that really caught my attention was in the third paragraph; he talks about the misfortune that some men inherit the wealth they have instead of earning it "Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt?". He continues to say that most of a man's life is spent being a machine and not doing what he wants to do. Even though Walden was written more than a hundred years ago, many of the views he stated were similar to what I believe. Although I did agree with a lot of these statements, there was one point that I questioned. Thoreau speaks with almost anger towards elders. He believed that the old cannot give advice to the young, because their own lives were not complete. He even goes on to say that "their lives have been such miserable failures, for private reasons, as they must believe; and it may be that they have some faith left which belies that experiences, and they are only less young the they were." He even says that he has not heard one sound from an elder that was good or even sincere advice. Personally I believe that seniors have lots of valuable advice to give to the young. In my opinion I think it would be impartial to believe that elders have not experienced one thing that would be valuable to younger generations. Still, I think that these strong opinions that have been crafted into such perfect writing is why Walden is so famous. Such a view of society is so rare that I am personally blown away that he was able to write such a difficult thing to comprehend. I am extremely excited to continue to delve deeper into this piece of art.
Mr Fitzsimmons Section #1
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
Left and right, all we hear as humans is accomplish great feats and achieve voluminous goals, but when it boils down to it, the tiny things we do everyday is what will make a difference. I learned this through the little act of showing a disoriented 5th grade me where to go. I realized that it does not take a major action to improve someone else's life, for the simple action of giving me a direction had made my day better. It happened on the first day of school. I had been to Ms. Byron's classroom once before, but the nervous energy had erased it from my mind. Scared, disoriented and jittery, I trudged to what I thought was my room. I had actually walked into the Robb Hall lobby. Confused, I spun in a circle trying to locate my advisor. "Hey," a towering ninth grader said behind me, "do you need help finding where you need to go?" "No." I responded. After telling him where I needed to be, he walked me to my classroom to make sure I got there. I had actually walked into the Robb Hall lobby. Confused, I spun in a circle trying to locate my advisor. "Hey," a towering ninth grader said behind me, "do you need help finding where you need to go?" "No." I responded. After telling him where I needed to be, he walked me to my classroom to make sure I got there. Even though it took him less than minute to show me where to go, it impacted me significantly. It made what would have been a disaster of a first day into an awesome first impression of the school. The ninth grader who helped me probably has no memory of the time, but it will always be with me. People will not remember everything about you, but they will remember the one time you made their day better. It is extremely hard to do something so big that it will change the world, but you can do small things every day that will make it a little better.
Narrative Paragraph #1
Mr. Fitzsimmons Section #1
“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else.”
― Mitch Albom
Sacrificing for the good of others gives a better feeling than receiving could ever provide. I just happened to discover it through the many early wake ups I made to spend time with a fourth grader. Every Thursday I would wake up with a giddy feeling in my stomach. Nothing seemed cooler than being able to spend thirty minutes once a week with a ninth grader. Sure, sometimes it was awkward, but it was still one of the highlights of my 5th grade year. It didn't matter that he liked basketball but I liked football, it was the fact that he sacrificed his Thursday morning every week to spend time with me. I had partially put big brother out of my mind until last year. Once again I stood nervous, except this time for my little brother. My experience last year showed me that the time sacrificed in the morning made my day better too. It was a rainy day. Sleepy eyed, I jogged over to Mr Smith's classroom where I know he was waiting. I had been woken up early, but still willingly followed Jack out to the turf, which was completely empty for us. Although my pants were wet, and my shoes were soggy, seeing the smile that formed on his face was the best feeling in the world. I learned that that receiving is not the only way to achieve happiness. Sacrificing some of your own personal comforts for the good of others can give you a greater sense of contentedness than gifts could ever supply. Something as simple as waking up early to make a fourth grader's day a little better has taught me that giving is better than getting, even if it is just a Thursday morning.