9th English Fitz
Economy Fully Explored
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what I had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
-Henry David Thoreau
The crystal clear pond glimmered before me. I gazed at my reflection in the ripple free pond of peacefulness.The cool breeze whirled around me briskly. I heard nothing besides this slight breeze, as well as the occasional chirping or cawing of various birds. An abundance of trees towered over me. I knew that Thoreau lived at this this unique pond 160 years ago in isolation.
Thoreau strolled along the same sandy beaches as I did that day. He went to these woods because he wanted "to front only the essential facts of life". He lived off of only what he needed, and nothing else. Thoreau frequently mentioned that people focused on luxuries instead of life’s basic necessities. Thoreau also worked hard to maintain a stable living environment. He stated that anyone can accomplish anything as long as they put the work in.
“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime”
Reading “Economy” by Henry David Thoreau has been a truly enlightening experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying Thoreau’s approach on going about with his life. Interestingly enough, “Economy” is an analytical view of society, yet Thoreau isolates himself from society. Harkness discussions about “Economy” provided me with an excellent opportunity to contemplate about Thoreau’s essay “Economy” from a various number of perspectives. An interesting approach to analyzing “Economy” was when Willie Swift said that “Economy” is like Thoreau looming above society in a helicopter, critiquing its flaws. Thoreau does an excellent job of hooking his readers into "Economy". Thoreau composes his introduction with diverse vocabulary, which helped me develop a better understanding of what Thoreau did and why he decided to settle at Walden. I always wonder about this, however, because Walden is isolated from society, I wonder how Thoreau could possibly be happy. I realized that Thoreau could indeed find happiness. This was only after I had peered at the fascinating beauty that Walden beholds. Thoreau had this peaceful reservation all to himself. His wish to "live deliberately" was granted once he went to Walden. He did indeed live off of only the essential necessities in life.
"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind."
Why would someone focus on what they want, when they should be focusing on what they need? Throughout “Necessities” in “Economy" in “Walden”, by Henry David Thoreau, The importance of focusing on at least life's basic necessities is greatly emphasized. Thoreau commonly refers to what it takes to get through life. He mentions that people focus on luxuries and overlook what they really need. Throughout the “Necessities” section in Thoreau's essay “Economy", Thoreau states that a person can support himself with food, shelter, and clothing alone. Thoreau argues that this is a much better way of living than trying to obtain all sorts of unnecessary luxurious wonders that will become addicting. Instead, Thoreau states that people should focus on obtaining more important resources. These resources include food, water, shelter, and clothing. "Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries”. Here Thoreau is emphasizing the importance of obtaining the basic necessities in life; he is telling us that no human being needs anything more than food, water, shelter, and clothing. This necessities theme that comes up throughout “Economy" made me ponder how this all ties into the life of a boy living in the twenty first century like me. I agree with Thoreau's concept of focusing on the basic essentials in life, but I disagree with his approach of abandoning luxuries. Who would ever want to isolate himself from society? I cherish being part of many communities such as Fenn where we are blessed with various opportunities. I don't want to abandon these opportunities the way Thoreau did when he isolated himself from society. Throughout "Economy", Thoreau looks into everything a man really needs, but after people have obtained these basic life necessities, which are extremely important, it is important that they expand their horizons. In addition to living off of only the basic necessities in life Thoreau also persevered to accomplish everything he needed to.
In order for anyone to find success, they must be willing to put the work in. Throughout Henry David Thoreau's essay “Economy”, Thoreau consistently talks about how one can accomplish anything, as long as they put their mind to it. Particularly in “Money and Work” and “Fallacy in Philanthropy", Thoreau states that it takes hard work to be successful in society. As long as a person is persistent with their work, the success will come with it. In the “Money and Work” section, Thoreau mentions that nobody should ever just sit back and feel sorry for themselves “None is so poor he need sit on a pumpkin!”. In the "Fallacy in philanthropy” section, Thoreau talks about the fact that doing good is not all that important because people can find success themselves if they work for it.
“Probably I should not consciously and deliberately forsake my particular calling to do the good which society demands of me, to save the universe from annihilation; and I believe that a like but infinitely greater steadfastness elsewhere is all that now preserves it.”
Here Thoreau is emphasizing the importance of hard work. There are so many people in this world who live in poverty and go through hardships, and many of these people can get themselves into a better situation by working hard. However, many people just don't realize what they are capable of. The main message that Thoreau is trying to convey is that in order to find success, one must be willing to work hard when the situation they are in gets hard, one must learn to step outside their comfort zone and learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Thoreau is well aware that their are plenty of people in society who are struggling. However, he is trying to get across that almost anyone can take matters into their own hands and accomplish feats because they preserved through their challenges individually.
Thoreau has enlightened me throughout his essay "Economy". He made me realize that luxuries are often taken for granted, and the importance of the basic essentials in life is often overlooked. Thoreau made me realize that even today, society has its flaws. Thoreau emphasizes that people don't work as hard as they should because often they will getother people to take on tasks for them. This exists today even more than it did when "Walden" was written because even more services are implemented. These services include dining, plumbing, transportation, education, entertainment, and more. Thoreau emphasizes that these services are unnecessary, and that a people can support themselves on their own, and in some cases people will take pleasure in supporting themselves independently. For example, Thoreau enjoyed building his own house so much, he questioned why other people don't do it themselves. "Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?".
Thoreau did indeed fulfill his wish to "live deliberately". I continually wonder what he means by this, and now I know that his objective was to live with a purpose. He certainly lived an important life. A life where he was able to provide readers with a new perspective of society.