Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is a personal narrative about Thoreau's solitary living experience near Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Starting with the building of his cabin by the pond in 1845, Thoreau recounts his experience away from society and city life. Thoreau spends his time growing beans for money while appreciating the beautiful wilderness around him. Although he lives a solitary life for nearly two years, Thoreau explains that he does not feel as isolated as one might think.
He encounters several different animals, and he studies each of them in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of life and survival. From the birds that watch him in the trees to the fish in the pond, Thoreau believes that each creature has a lesson to teach. The sound of the train on the tracks near the pond reminds him that society and technology are a stone's throw away, and the noises lead him to contemplate the benefits of living away from the constant pressures of social interactions and expectations. This philosophical narrative includes a sprinkle of humor, but the main focus is on living life to the fullest and on appreciating the world outside material needs.
In the final chapter of this book, you'll find an essay titled "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience", in which Thoreau contends that people should not allow the government to control or limit their principals, and it's an individual's duty to stand up to and not comply with such attempts by the government. Thoreau was mainly inspired to write this piece due to his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War.
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