|“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau
1. According to Thoreau, what is the “strange uncertainty” most people have? Pg 383
Most people are uncertain about the nature of life, whether it is essentially good or bad.
2. According to Thoreau, by what is our life, “frittered away”? pg 383
3. What does Thoreau mean by his advice to “Simplify, simplify”? pg 383
He means that people should reduce both their material possessions and the external demands of their lives.
4. Why did Thoreau go to the woods? Pg 383
He went to the woods to live simply and deliberately, to try to understand the essential facts of life.
5. What is Thoreau’s main point about time in the paragraph beginning “time is but the stream I go a- fishing in”? pg. 384
Time is shallow, but eternity remains.
6. Why does Thoreau call the intellect a “cleaver” (a large knife)? pg 384
Like a cleaver that cuts things apart, the intellect is used for analyzing and sectioning ideas into parts.
7. In what sense is the head an organ for burrowing (digging into a tunnel or hole)? Pg 384
It is an organ for digging into knowledge.
8. What is the metaphor Thoreau uses in the sentences beginning, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions…? What are the two things being compared and what point is he trying to make? Pg 385
He speaks of life as though it were a march in time with music- as though people were soldiers marching in a parade. Thoreau is saying the people should not conform and do everything the same way others do. He is telling readers to be individuals.
9. What does Thoreau claim to have learned from his experiment in living? Pg 385
He claims that if a person follows his or her dreams, the result will be unexpected success and greater freedom.
10. How does Thoreau’s allusion to “the wealth of Croesus” help to emphasize his point about material possessions? Pg 386
It emphasizes that material possessions cannot really change the essential goal of anyone’s life, or make it easier to accomplish those goals. We all have what we essentially need wealth only buys unnecessary things.
11. Walden’s closing image of the morning star leaves readers feeling__________. Pg 387
12. What did Thoreau hope to achieve by living at Walden Pond? Do you believe Thoreau felt his time at Walden was well spent?
He hoped to identify and experience the very essence of life. YOUR OWN OPINION – yes, he seems to feel that he has learned a great deal from his experience.