The Theme Of Distraction In Thoreau's Where I Lived For

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Thoreau, in the passage Where I Lived, and What I Lived For, utilizes distraction as a metaphor for unnecessary things by using the overall theme of water. He begins this idea by urging people with “let us rise … without perturbation.” The joining phrase “let us” in the sentence suggests how we should live. In this context, perturbation means a deviation from a system which usually is caused by an outside force. He says that we should live without being distracted or “deviated” from our regular lives by unnecessary things. Then he goes on to ask, “why should we knock under and go with the stream?” “Knock under” means to admit defeat or to give into. Thus, to give into “the stream”, means to become used to being distracted. If we give into the…show more content…
The words, “rapid and whirlpool” however, are a direct opposite of what should be perceived as dinner. Therefore, by making dinner a “whirlpool and rapid”, we are creating an unnecessary disturbance in something that is undemanding. According to Thoreau, dinner is located at “the meridian shallows”; meridian which is an apex or high point, and shallow which is low. Therefore both words back to back create an oxymoron. This oxymoron further develops the idea that people make pointless fuss about something that is simple. Shallow can also mean superficial; therefore as he implies that dinner is in the shallows, he means that dinner as it is now, is meaningless because people disturb themselves with the irrelevant “rapids and whirlpools” in an event that is supposed to be uncomplicated. But he says, “weather this danger, and you are safe, for the rest of the way is downhill.” Weather in this passage, refers to the ability to reach the end of difficult time without being harmed. Therefore, he means that if one is able to identify and avoid or navigate around the distractions, meaning “rapids and whirlpools”, you will be safe because the rest of the way is “downhill” easier, simpler and
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