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Lecture 6

ENGL 40761 Lecture 6: feb 7 walden 3 notes

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ENGL 40761
Fredman Stephen

American Culture as Collage Class Notes 2-7-17 Walden Chapters 4 & 5 Thoreau • He was at Walden Pond from 1845-47; 28-30 years old • Structured Walden so that successive chapters seem to oppose each other (Sounds vs. Solitude) Chapter 4: Sounds Guiding Question: What activity does Thoreau posit as more important than reading? • Mindfulness & awareness of your surroundings o “Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour” (92) • Thoreau’s hierarchy of states of being that leads one towards enlightenment/awakening: a. Reading b. Seeing: active engagement in what is going on, yet it is still perceptual. Seeing means being able to draw the deepest lessons out of our experiences. c. Contemplation: Highest state of being. Requires letting go of everything but your own awareness. Thoreau saw this as a serious endeavor that is even more important than seeing and reading. • “Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?” (91) Chapter 5: Solitude Guiding Question: Why is Thoreau not lonely at Walden Pond? • Society extends to include the elements of nature and we can have the same kind of social interactions with things that are not human. • There is no such thing as loneliness because he has identified and connected with everything. o “I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond itself” (112) • When we are engaged in any part of his three-part hierarchy, we are not lone
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