301 Reading Questions on Thorau's
Walden, Textbook Excerpts
Be able to define the following
vocabulary terms and apply them to the literature we read
allusion, environmental writings,
(1) What's the difference and what are the similarities
between Transcendentalism and Romanticism?
- Where is Walden Pond located?
- How long did Thoreau live there?
- What are some questions people asked Thoreau when
he returned to civilization.
- What was his goal in living alone in the wilderness?
Be able to identify the source
of the following quotations and explain their significance:
(A) I see young men,
my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited
farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for
these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better
if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled
by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes
what field they were called to labor in.
(B) The mass of men lead lives of quiet
(C) I do not propose to write an ode to
dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the
morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors
(D) 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 it had to
teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had
not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life,
living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation,
unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep
and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily
and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not
life. . . .
(F) Time is but the stream I go a-fishing
in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy
bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current
slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper;
fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I
cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the
alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not
as wise as the day I was born.
(G) If you would learn to speak all tongues
and conform to the customs of all nations, if you would
travel farther than all travelers, be naturalized in
all climes, and cause the Sphinx to dash her bead against
a stone, even obey the precept of the old philosopher,
and Explore thyself. . . . Nay, be a Columbus to whole
new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels,
not of trade, but of thought.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Is American Transcendentalism really
part of the same movement as Romanticism in Britain?