Walden, Henry David Thoreau, and also a minimal amount of outside research

Walden, Henry David Thoreau, and also a minimal amount of outside research

In your opinion, what creates magic in an essay? What is effective, how and why?

Use examples from Walden, Henry David Thoreau, and also a minimal amount of outside research.

focus on how Thoreau expresses his emotions and use them to affect readers and strengthen his arguments.

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The Project Gutenberg Etext of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
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Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
January, 1995 [Etext #205]
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Two second-hand windows
with glass ……………….. 2.43
One thousand old brick ……….. 4.00
Two casks of lime ……………. 2.40 That was high.
Hair ……………………….. 0.31 More than I needed.
Mantle-tree iron …………….. 0.15
Nails ………………………. 3.90
Hinges and screws ……………. 0.14
Latch ………………………. 0.10
Chalk ………………………. 0.01
Transportation ………………. 1.40 I carried a good part
——- on my back.
In all …………………. $28.12+
These are all the materials, excepting the timber, stones, and sand, which I claimed by squatter’s right. I have
also a small woodshed adjoining, made chiefly of the stuff which was left after building the house.
I intend to build me a house which will surpass any on the main street in Concord in grandeur and luxury, as
soon as it pleases me as much and will cost me no more than my present one.
I thus found that the student who wishes for a shelter can obtain one for a lifetime at an expense not greater
than the rent which he now pays annually. If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag
for humanity rather than for myself; and my shortcomings and inconsistencies do not affect the truth of my
statement. Notwithstanding much cant and hypocrisy — chaff which I find it difficult to separate from my
wheat, but for which I am as sorry as any man — I will breathe freely and stretch myself in this respect, it is
such a relief to both the moral and physical system; and I am resolved that I will not through humility become
the devil’s attorney. I will endeavor to speak a good word for the truth. At Cambridge College the mere rent of
a student’s room, which is only a little larger than my own, is thirty dollars each year, though the corporation
had the advantage of building thirty-two side by side and under one roof, and the occupant suffers the
inconvenience of many and noisy neighbors, and perhaps a residence in the fourth story. I cannot but think
that if we had more true wisdom in these respects, not only less education would be needed, because, forsooth,
more would already have been acquired, but the pecuniary expense of getting an education would in a great
measure vanish. Those conveniences which the student requires at Cambridge or elsewhere cost him or
somebody else ten times as great a sacrifice of life as they would with proper management on both sides.
Those things for which the most money is demanded are never the things which the student most wants.
Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he
gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made. The mode of founding a
college is, commonly, to get up a subscription of dollars and cents, and then, following blindly the principles
of a division of labor to its extreme — a principle which should never be followed but with circumspection –
to call in a contractor who makes this a subject of speculation, and he employs Irishmen or other operatives
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actually to lay the foundations, while the students that are to be are said to be fitting themselves for it; and for
these oversights successive generations have to pay. I think that it would be better than this, for the students,
or those who desire to be benefited by it, even to lay the foundation themselves. The student who secures his
coveted leisure and retirement by systematically shirking any labor necessary to man obtains but an ignoble
and unprofitable leisure, defrauding himself of the experience which alone can make leisure fruitful. “But,”
says one, “you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?” I do
not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they
should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but
earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the
experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics. If I wished a boy to
know something about the arts and sciences, for instance, I would not pursue the common course, which is
merely to send him into the neighborhood of some professor, where anything is professed and practised but
the art of life; — to survey the world through a telescope or a microscope, and never with his natural eye; to
study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to
discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite
himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a
drop of vinegar. Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month — the boy who had made his own
jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this — or the
boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a
Rodgers’ penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his fingers?… To my astonishment I
was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation! — why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor
I should have known more about it. Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while
that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges.
The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt
As with our colleges, so with a hundred “modern improvements”; there is an illusion about them; there is not
always a positive advance. The devil goes on exacting compound interest to the last for his early share and
numerous succeeding investments in them. Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our
attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was
already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a
magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to
communicate. Either is in such a predicament as the man who was earnest to be introduced to a distinguished
deaf woman, but when he was presented, and one end of her ear trumpet was put into his hand, had nothing to
say. As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly. We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic
and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through
into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough. After all,
the man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages; he is not an
evangelist, nor does he come round eating locusts and wild honey. I doubt if Flying Childers ever carried a
peck of corn to mill.
One says to me, “I wonder that you do not lay up money; you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to
Fitchburg today and see the country.” But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he
that goes afoot. I say to my friend, Suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is thirty miles; the
fare ninety cents. That is almost a day’s wages. I remember when wages were sixty cents a day for laborers on
this very road. Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have travelled at that rate by the week
together. You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly
this evening, if you are lucky enough to get a job in season. Instead of going to Fitchburg, you will be
working here the greater part of the day. And so, if the railroad reached round the world, I think that I should
keep ahead of you; and as for seeing the country and getting experience of that kind, I should have to cut your
acquaintance altogether.
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Such is the universal law, which no man can ever outwit, and with regard to the railroad even we may say it is
as broad as it is long. To make a railroad round the world available to all mankind is equivalent to grading the
whole surface of the planet. Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and
spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing; but though a crowd
rushes to the depot, and the conductor shouts “All aboard!” when the smoke is blown away and the vapor
condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over — and it will be called, and will
be, “A melancholy accident.” No doubt they can ride at last who shall have earned their fare, that is, if they
survive so long, but they will probably have lost their elasticity and desire to travel by that time. This
spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least
valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he
might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once. “What!” exclaim a
million Irishmen starting up from all the shanties in the land, “is not this railroad which we have built a good
thing?” Yes, I answer, comparatively good, that is, you might have done worse; but I wish, as you are brothers
of mine, that you could have spent your time better than digging in this dirt.
Before I finished my house, wishing to earn ten or twelve dollars by some honest and agreeable method, in
order to meet my unusual expenses, I planted about two acres and a half of light and sandy soil near it chiefly
with beans, but also a small part with potatoes, corn, peas, and turnips. The whole lot contains eleven acres,
mostly growing up to pines and hickories, and was sold the preceding season for eight dollars and eight cents
an acre. One farmer said that it was “good for nothing but to raise cheeping squirrels on.” I put no manure
whatever on this land, not being the owner, but merely a squatter, and not expecting to cultivate so much
again, and I did not quite hoe it all once. I got out several cords of stumps in plowing, which supplied me with
fuel for a long time, and left small circles of virgin mould, easily distinguishable through the summer by the
greater luxuriance of the beans there. The dead and for the most part unmerchantable wood behind my house,
and the driftwood from the pond, have supplied the remainder of my fuel. I was obliged to hire a team and a
man for the plowing, though I held the plow myself. My farm outgoes for the first season were, for
implements, seed, work, etc., $14.72+. The seed corn was given me. This never costs anything to speak of,
unless you plant more than enough. I got twelve bushels of beans, and eighteen bushels of potatoes, beside
some peas and sweet corn. The yellow corn and turnips were too late to come to anything. My whole income
from the farm was
$ 23.44
Deducting the outgoes ………… 14.72+
There are left ……………… $ 8.71+
beside produce consumed and on hand at the time this estimate was made of the value of $4.50 — the amount
on hand much more than balancing a little grass which I did not raise. All things considered, that is,
considering the importance of a man’s soul and of today, notwithstanding the short time occupied by my
experiment, nay, partly even because of its transient character, I believe that that was doing better than any
farmer in Concord did that year.
The next year I did better still, for I spaded up all the land which I required, about a third of an acre, and I
learned from the experience of both years, not being in the least awed by many celebrated works on
husbandry, Arthur Young among the rest, that if one would live simply and eat only the crop which he raised,
and raise no more than he ate, and not exchange it for an insufficient quantity of more luxurious and
expensive things, he would need to cultivate only a few rods of ground, and that it would be cheaper to spade
up that than to use oxen to plow it, and to select a fresh spot from time to time than to manure the old, and he
could do all his necessary farm work as it were with his left hand at odd hours in the summer; and thus he
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