Topic 2 #3 (Satirical criticism)
Walter Harding is most accurate when he said you could read Walden as a satirical criticism of modern life and living. Another way of saying this would be that Thoreau writes in a way that he is criticizing the way modern people are living. In fact, he believes, that we could be living in a different way, which would ideally be a more nature-oriented and simplistic form of living. In other words, Thoreau thinks the best way to live is to abandon all materialistic things and live in nature. His reasoning leads to the conclusion that you can be closer to the universal soul and fulfill more of a spiritual life. So, in this sense, we can look at the book in a way that Thoreau seems to criticize the civilization.
One thing we can be sure about is that whenever Thoreau speaks of the positive points of living in nature, he is in some way criticizing nature because he claims he his nature has a better method of functioning.
Although he does not insist that people remove to nature, he encourages people to do so because he believes that's the best way for them to learn about themselves and the world. One of the lessons he learns involves some criticism on modern society and possessions. An example that Thoreau brings up involves how farmers are chained to their farms as much as a person would be to jail. This can be explained by saying if you work to own things, you will restrict your freedom because you need to work to be able to own things. If you work to gain materialistic things, then you will not be able to gain personal freedom because you consume so much time with it. Thoreau's solution is...