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Henry David Thoreau


Best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Henry David Thoreau

  • Best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple
    living in natural surroundings, and his essay,
    Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual
    resistance to the government in moral opposition
    to an unjust state.

Henry David Thoreau
  • Born in Concord, MA to John Thoreau and Cynthia
    Dunbar in1817
  • Father, John, was a pencil maker
  • His maternal grandfather, Asa Dunbar, was known
    for leading Harvard's 1766 student Bread and
    Butter Rebellion, the first recorded student
    protest in the United States
  • Classically educated at Harvard

Operated a school with his brother, John, until
Johns death from lockjawThoreau returned home
to Concord, where he became friends with Emerson
who took a paternal and at times patronizing
interest in ThoreauOf the many prominent
authors who lived in Concord, Thoreau was the
only town native.
  • From 1841-1844, Thoreau joined the Emerson
    household to serve as the childrens tutor,
    editorial assistant, and repair man/gardener.
  • For a few months in 1843, he moved to the home of
    William Emerson in New York, tutoring the family
    sons while writing
  • Thoreau returned to Concord and worked in his
    family's pencil factory, which he would continue
    to do for most of his adult life

  • Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in
    simple living on July 4, 1845
  • The house was not in wilderness but at the edge
    of town, 1.5 miles from his family home
  • Thoreau refused to pay taxes because of his
    opposition to the Mexican-American War and
    slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of
    this refusal

  • Left Walden Pond on September 6, 1847
  • 2 years, 2 months, 2 days
  • Over several years, he worked to pay off his
    debts revised his manuscript
  • In 1854, he published Walden, or Life in the
    Woods, the time he had spent at Walden Pond. The
    book compresses that time into a single calendar
    year, using the passage of four seasons to
    symbolize human development.
  • Walden at first won few admirers, but today it is
    regarded as a classic that explores natural
    simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for
    just social and cultural conditions.

  • He died on May 6, 1862 at the age of 44.
  • Originally buried in the Dunbar family plot, he
    and members of his immediate family were
    eventually moved to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in

Quotes -Be not simply good be good for
-If you would convince a man that he does wrong,
do rightMen will believe what they see. Let them
-Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste
the sky as well as the earth! (seen as first
environmentalist) -If a man does not keep pace
with his companions, perhaps it is because he
hears a different drummer. Let him step to the
music which he hears, however measured or far
away. (individuality)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Born in Boston
  • Son of the a Unitarian minister in a famous line
    of ministers
  • Emerson's father died less than two weeks before
    his 8th birthday
  • At fourteen, Emerson went to Harvard College
    where waited tables at Commons, a dining hall at
    Harvard and supplemented complement by teaching
    during the winter vacation

  • After graduation, Emerson made his living as a
  • Went back to Harvard Divinity School, became
    Unitarian minister in 1829
  • A dispute with church officials led to his
    resignation in 1832
  • Formulated and first expressed the philosophy of
    Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay
  • His first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker, died of
    tuberculosis at 19

  • In 1835, Emerson bought a house in Concord
  • Married his second wife Lydia Jackson
  • Children were Waldo, Ellen, Edith, and Edward
    Waldo Emerson
  • Ellen was named for his first wife, at the
    suggestion of Lydia

  • In 1838 he was invited back to Harvard for the
    graduation address
  • His remarks outraged and shocked the whole
    Protestant community at the time because he
    proclaimed that Jesus was a great man, but not
  • He was denounced as an atheist
  • By the mid-1880s his position had become standard
    Unitarian doctrine
  • Emerson made a living as a popular lecturer in
    the country outside of the South because of his
    anti-slavery position

  • Emerson associated with Nathaniel Hawthorne and
    Henry David Thoreau
  • The land on which Thoreau built his cabin on
    Walden Pond belonged to Emerson and he provided
    food and hired Thoreau to perform odd jobs
  • Their close relationship fractured after Emerson
    gave Thoreau the poor advice to publish his first
  • Eventually the two would reconcile some of their
    differences, although Thoreau privately accused
    Emerson of having drifted from his original
  • Emerson began to view Thoreau as a misanthrope
    Emerson's eulogy to Thoreau is largely credited
    with the latter's negative reputation during the
    19th century.

  • Emerson is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in

Quotes -A hero is no braver than an ordinary
man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
-The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we
counted our spoons.
-I hate quotations. Tell me what you know. (think
for yourself)
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