Would Walden Have Been Better?

English Essay #23

Walden is the autobiography of Henry Thoreau which talks about his time living the “simple life” at Walden Pond. So far it is not very good. He spends very little time describing his life at Walden Pond. Most of his time he spends spouting random ideas which may sound wise, but if you look at them closer you see that they are a collection of illogical garbage packaged into rhetoric. He thinks of himself as a philosopher, but he doesn’t even know what he believes. He regularly says something and them turns right around and contradicts himself on the next page. So would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had provided more of his own backstory?

I think that it could make it better, maybe. Putting in some of his own history might explain why he thinks what he thinks. But it most likely wouldn’t fix the book. After all the book isn’t really about him it is about his shack. His childhood would most likely just seem out of context. Also knowing more about him would not likely explain his ideas. Most of his ideas are not explained all the way and don’t make sense, which is the chief problem of the book, and knowing his history would most likely not add much. It probably wouldn’t tell why he says that only great poets can understand the writing of great poets.

Henry Thoreau’s backstory could do one great thing for the book though. It could provide a break from all the meaningless rhetoric! It might end up being the most entertaining part of the whole book. Walden is a constant flow of half baked ideas which shouldn’t have been put in the oven in the first place, it gets very tiring and a change of pace would be welcome.

He seems like a snob who thinks that society is not good enough for him. Knowing his history and childhood might shed more light on his character and why it is the way it is, which could be interesting.

So adding context and personal history would add a lot. It would most likely be entertaining, and shed light on him as a person. While it would make the book a little more enjoyable it would not fix the main problem with the whole thing. Adding more to his story would probably make it better, but it would still be the same bad  book.




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