I am continuing my read of Thoreau’s Walden, and I still haven’t been able to see eye to eye with him. He believed a lot of things that I found odd, and sometimes even contradicted his own arguments. All in all, the book only talks about his time on Walden Pond, what he thought, even though it sometimes doesn’t make sense, and not much else. The question I have this time regarding the book asks: “Would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had supplied more background information on his life?”
Here’s what it means by background. The book wouldn’t necessarily have to talk about his life from day 1, though it would be nice if it did. What I think the question is asking for is info on why he went to Walden Pond and built a shack. What was he thinking? What reasons led to this choice? The answer is he was trying to prove a point, but nowhere in the book was it mentioned.
Of course having said all that, you’d assume my answer is yes. Well, I actually believe my answer is the opposite. It would, however, be a better Autobiography if that information was included, since that is the point of autobiographies, right? As a book in general, it was mostly focused on what he experienced, and not much progression through time is obvious, in my opinion. In the chapter titled “reading”, he described his belief in the reading of the classics, though it was a bit strange since he switched points of view a couple times. It is mostly descriptions that are written in it, rather than a record of events that took place.
So, in conclusion, my answer is that a a book, it is alright, but as an autobiography, it would have been preferable if info about times before shack life were included in its pages. Believe it or not, he has made some true statements, even though he once said a mosquito flying around him was a “cosmic wonder”. I can’t wait to read more.