Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Essay by Maddiem45College, UndergraduateA+, March 2014

download word file, 5 pages 0.0


Maddie Middlebrooks

EN 209-016

November 6, 2013

Word Count 1278

To Think for Yourself

Henry David Thoreau's, Walden, is a novel focused completely around the idea of self-reliance. In the novel, Thoreau goes even more in depth into this idea, focusing a passage on the specific idea of experiencing your life solely for yourself, not through the ideas or beliefs of anyone else. He states, "No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof"(1616). He fully believes that a person cannot live their life based on hear say. He believes that if you have not seen or experienced something yourself to prove that it is indeed true, you are living your life based on false pretenses missing out on not only some of the greatest aspects of life, but of forming your own self. Seeing this overpowering influence of the media and others in today's society on me, as Thoreau would, this is a belief my mother has instilled in me since the day I was born.

She has always told me, "If you didn't see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, or feel it for yourself, then you have no idea if it is true." Overcoming the large influence of our elders, as well as the media in this generation, means stepping out against the norm and experiencing life on our own terms, in order to learn just how much more the world has to offer than someone else's beliefs.

Thoreau persuades his readers by providing us with several examples of times he has proven his belief to be true. He uses this example to mock a common belief of his towns people when he states, "What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be...