Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity: Thoreau's Way Of Life

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“Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity”: Thoreau’s Way of Life In “The Bean Field” chapter of Walden, Henry David Thoreau retells how he tilled the soil to farm his beans. The first year, Thoreau describes how he plants “about two acres and a half of light and sandy soil” (46). In this soil Thoreau plants beans, potatoes, corn, peas, and turnips. Rising long before the “sun had got above the shrub-oaks” (132) Thoreau levels the haughty weeds barefoot in the dew soaked soil. On this soil, Thoreau abstains from adding manure as he is “not . . . the owner, but merely a squatter” (47) of the land. He finds his work to be slow going as “he had little aid from horses or cattle, or hired men or boys, or improved implements of husbandry . . .” (133).…show more content…
During his time spent hoeing, Thoreau comes across arrowheads, the fossils of an ancient civilization that “exhausted the soil for [his] very crop” (132). Striking the arrowheads with his hoe Thoreau creates a kind of music that “echoed to the woods and the sky” (134) lightening his labor. Thoreau finds his farming to be equivalent to a “small Herculean labor” (131), as his beans need ever tending: “Before the last seed was placed in the ground, “the earliest had grown considerably” (131). Although his beans, his crops, are “so many more than [he] wanted” (131), he comes to love them, as they attach him to the Earth, giving him “strength like Antaeus” (131). The way in which Thoreau farms his bean field, as well as why he plants it…show more content…
His house was only, “[T]en feet wide by fifteen long . . . with a garret and a closet, a large window on each side, two trap doors, one door at the end, and a brick fireplace opposite” (41). Although, Thoreau's cabin is small, it is more than sufficient to hold his meager possessions: “My furniture consisted of a bed, a table, a desk, three chairs, a looking-glass three inches in diameter, a pair of tongs and andirons, a kettle, a skillet, and a frying-pan, a dipper, a wash-bowl, two knives and forks, three plates, one cup, one spoon, a jug for oil, a jug for molasses, and a japanned lamp” (56). His cabin along with some of his furniture were crafted from his own labor, the reason being that he finds it simple and natural to be self sufficient. Here Thoreau expands on the importance of self sufficiency, “Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed. . . We do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built. . . ” (39) Thoreau may appear poor from his lake of a fancy house; however in his own opinion he is rich beyond words: “When I have met an immigrant tottering under a bundle which contained his all,—looking like an enormous wen which had grown out of the nape of his neck,—I have

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