11 June 2012
A House is not Their Home
Independence and freedom sound wonderful, but the appeal of a life in the woods is hard to consider. However, the idea is not irrational. The Boxcar Children and Henry Thoreau, mentioned in Barbara Lazear Ascher's essay, "The Box Man," may be houseless, yet are much happier than an outsider assumes. With only one's self to rely on for survival a person probably would experience an adventurous life, peacefulness, and complete personal freedom.
First, I try to imagine the life of sneaking around, taking without asking, and going to sleep not knowing what tomorrow brings, much like the adventurous and heroic story of Robin Hood. Ascher describes her favorite childhood book, The Boxcar Children, in her essay and the children seem to have an adventurous regime. She writes that their lives had the "ease of children at play."(
Ascher 7) It is beautiful to know that the children will take the worst of a condition and see it as a game of survival, trusting that Mother Nature will keep the game alive.
The second appealing side to solitary life is the peaceful sound of quietness. In Ascher's essay she cites Thoreau as describing his solitary experience living in the woods as not "crowded or confined in the least,"(7) with "pasture enough for Ã¢ÂÂ¦ imagination."(7) While many busy Americans barely get five minutes to reflect on one day, Thoreau was able to reflect only on his thoughts and feelings for two years. As my two-year-old runs through the house screaming, I can only envision how calm and relaxed he must have felt.
Third, the freedom to do as one pleases is a very appealing side to the solitary life described in The Boxcar...