Theme Of Conflict In Henry David Thoreau's 'Walden'

724 Words3 Pages

Noelle Tomlin
Mr. Holtzclaw
AP English Lang
2 October 2014
Quarter 1 Outline: Walden

1. Conflicts
a. Thoreau faces internal conflict mainly from his contradicting beliefs, ideas, and emotions. He aims to explore himself from within and in relation to nature, and therefore must face constant change that sometimes causes distress.
b. During one of Thoreau’s excursions away from the pond, he is confronted by a tax collector. He refuses to pay poll tax because he does not want to support a society based on slavery. His refusal lands him in jail overnight, and he quickly returns home the next morning.
2. Two Characters
a. Henry David Thoreau i. Thoreau is the main character, as well as the only major character in the book. He is known as a well educated philosopher, despite his background of poverty. He focuses on an individualistic lifestyle that is free from societal influence, and materialism. ii. He believes nature to be necessary to personal well-being and spiritual awareness, and reflects on the importance of a minimalistic lifestyle. He is dynamic, and therefore is constantly forming new beliefs and ideas so he can improve as a human in daily life.
b. Ralph Waldo Emerson …show more content…

The bean field is a symbol of independence, and supports the theme of living a simplistic and satisfying life. He does not make much money from working in the bean field, but having just enough to support himself brings joy and closeness to nature that would be unattainable by slaving away at a boring day job.
5. Rhetorical Devices
a. Paradox i. Walden writes, “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. (60)” ii. This statement is not true literally, but it is in the figurative sense because the railroad and other technology had power over Americans. It supports the theme regarding simplicity because the advancements in technology prevented people from living a satisfying life.
b. Chiasmus i. Walden writes, “When the farmer has got his house, he may not be the richer but the poorer for it, and it may be that the house has got him. (29)” ii. This statement expresses how people spend large amounts of money on materialistic things, such as homes, but they are really just causing harm. Instead of living simplistically, people choose extravagance and allow it to consume them.
6. Two quotations
a. The first quote i. Relation to theme
b. The second quote i. Relation to

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