FSEM: Writing Ecology: Literature and Environment

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Thoreau

For Tuesday:  After reading up through “Solitude” (page 208), and the selection from Glen Love (available on Blackboard under course documents, “week 2”, think though and answer the following questions in the blog:

How does Thoreau’s description of the non-human world fit into Cronon’s discussion of wilderness?  Do you agree with Cronon that Thoreau demonstrates a “stern loneliness” in his experience of “wilderness”, at Walden Pond?  Does he find “wildness” there (without leaving civilization far behind)?  How is “reading” part of Thoreau’s experience at Walden Pond?  What kind of perspective does Thoreau gain in his semi-isolation from society at Walden Pond?

1 Comment

Barak Holtslag wrote @ January 23rd, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Response to Thoreau In Walden Pond, Thoreau is taking extreme effort into contextualizing the idea of living in the primitive state, and attempting to make it sound like it truly is “the better life.” In comparison to Cronan’s ideas about Human involvement, Thoreau seems to be leaning more towards the actual understanding of Human behavior in the world, as oppose to the solutions that need to be met for the preservation of it. Cronan however brings about a very good point in the evaluation of Thoreau. Cronan states that Thoreau demonstrates a “stern loneliness” in his experience of “wilderness”, at Walden Pond. This is exactly what I felt coming from Thoreau time after time throughout the reading, that with every mention of his friends or of the relatedness animals have with people, Thoreau seems to give off a longing for human contact, and his necessity to communicate. I believe that Thoreau indeed found “wilderness” living at Walden Pond, not just through surviving it physically, but more importantly mentally. Cronan states how earlier society viewed the wilderness as evil, and how we as people gradually accepted it as a good thing. I believe that our gradual approval of the wilderness came with our gradual urbanization, which took us away from the idea of the “evil forest.” However living out in the woods without human contact has made people crazy, and it is kind of weird how it messes with one’s mind. In this context, Thoreau did find “wildness” which I define as not only surviving the wild, but enduring the mental stress of not having anyone to talk to is a battle I do not believe I could win.

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