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Lecture 7

ENGL 40761 Lecture 7: American Culture as Collage 2-9-17 class notes walden 3

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University of Notre Dame
ENGL 40761
Fredman Stephen

• Tuesday: discussing Bhagavad Gita & Thoreau as a yogi o Thoreau defines karmayoga end of Bean field chapter - “the true husbandmen…also.” o No concern for what will come next, be in the moment, relinquish fruits of your actions, don’t worry The Ponds • To what does Thoreau compare Walden? o An eye “ A Lake is a landscape’s…” ▪ Similar to mirror comparison ▪ Perceived, and perceive ourselves by it o White pond, Flint’s pond, & other bodies of water ▪ Walden is superior in its purity - can’t find a more “awake” body of water o A well already dug - “walled-in” pond ▪ Ultimate provider of water, knowledge ▪ Very deep ▪ Self-contained (like Thoreau) • Independence vs rejection of society? Consider Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” • Deepness important, has an entire ecosystem within self & is within a larger ecosystem, can and should flourish on its own • Contrast between shallow & self-contained, which may need to be supplemented - Walden can be & exist in itself • Walden as symbol of intuition - dig deep in self and learn things more purely than from external communication o A person - lips of the lake, the eye passage, dimples, breast, etc ▪ Walden’s ability to do things analogous to what people can do o A mirror “In such a day, in september…” ▪ Completely impervious ▪ Reflects back your own imperfections, true vision of one’s self o A hermit “reserved and austere” ▪ Pond as the truly awake person ▪ Separate and pure o Crystals (end of chapter) ▪ Lots of value, precious ▪ Purity & transparency connected ▪ Compare with mirror - reflective vs. transparent • Walden as a character- the person who is completely & purely awake • All these comparisons build on each other - perceptual images of Walden (eye, mirror, crystal) • “Village in a pipe” - Thoreau horrified that local villagers may pipe Walden into town o Disrespecting the purity of the pond - capable of revealing our character, why use it to clean dishes? o Compared to Ganges - believes that Walden’s ice has reached India (Thoreau not happy with this, they’re not worthy, haven’t gotten to know Walden) • The pond is itself unchanged, same as in his youth - the change is in Thoreau - pond is forever young, unblemished o Walden is the purest thought, eternal truth Higher Laws • Seemingly paradoxical, difficult to resolve • Thoreau respects nature and dislikes constructs of society, but in HL refers to human’s l
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