Thoreau Essays

Thoreau Essays-17
Thoreau stayed in the house at Walden Pond for two years, from July 1845 to September 1847.

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Proving to be a better scholar than his more fun-loving and popular elder brother John, he was sent to Harvard.

He did well there and, despite having to drop out for several months for financial and health reasons, was graduated in the top half of his class in 1837. In 1837, America was experiencing an economic depression and jobs were not plentiful.

Nature, literature, history, are only subjective phenomena." For the Transcendentalist, the secret of successful living was to hold oneself above material concerns as much as possible and focus on the spiritual.

Thoreau must have imbibed Transcendentalism through almost every pore during his two years living with Emerson, though he would modify it to suit his own temperament by granting nature more reality than Emerson did.

Emerson was by then already one of the most famous American philosophers and men of letters.

Since Thoreau's graduation from Harvard, he had become a protégé of his famous neighbor and an informal student of Emerson's Transcendental ideas.

He was hired as the teacher of the Concord public school, but resigned after only two weeks because of a dispute with his superintendent over how to discipline the children.

For a while he and John considered seeking their fortunes in Kentucky, but at last he fell back onto working in his father's pencil factory.

In September 1839, they spent a memorable week together on a boating trip up the Concord and Merrimack rivers to Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

About the same time both brothers became romantically interested in Ellen Sewall, a frequent visitor to Concord from Cape Cod.


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