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from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. Feature Menu. Introducing the Selection Literary Focus: Metaphor Reading Skills: Making Generalizations About a Writer’s Beliefs. from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.

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From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Feature Menu

Introducing the Selection

Literary Focus: Metaphor

Reading Skills: Making Generalizations About a Writer’s Beliefs


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

In 1845, Thoreau went to live in a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Walden is his famous account of his two-year experiment in simple living. These excerpts relate

  • his day-to-day experiences of life in the woods

  • his ideas about what constitutes a life worth living


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

What would it be like to live alone in a cabin in the woods, with no company but the birds and other animals? Would you be lonely, bored?

Or would you, like Thoreau, feel more alive than before?

[End of Section]


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Literary Focus: Metaphor

Ametaphoris a figure of speech that makes an imaginative comparison between two unlike things.

  • A metaphor does not use a specific word of comparison such as like, as, than, or resembles.

  • Instead, it says that something is something else.


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Literary Focus: Metaphor

Thoreau’s metaphors are

  • highly visual

  • drawn from nature and from everyday, familiar things

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains.

from “Walden, or Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Literary Focus: Metaphor

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains.

from “Walden, or Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau

Work on a ship to pay for one’s passage. Enjoy the exhilaration of working on the deck—salt spray, crack of sails, sense of danger.

Buy a ticket for a cabin on a ship. Travel in safety and comfort. Meals in the dining room, comfortable bed in your cabin.


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Literary Focus: Metaphor

Paraphrase each metaphor that you find in the selection. State in your own words

  • what is being compared to what

  • the point Thoreau is trying to make

Metaphor

Paraphrase

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world....

Thoreau is comparing life to travel on a ship. He doesn’t want to be safe and comfortable. He wants adventure.


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

He compares his writing to a coat. He hopes that his readers will not alter or stretch his philosophy if it does not fit their own beliefs.

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Literary Focus: Metaphor

In this excerpt, what does Thoreau compare his writing to? What point is he trying to make with the comparison?

I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits . . . .

from “Walden, or Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau

[End of Section]


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

Generalization

Anyone can discover a unique path in life, but this discovery comes at different times for different people.

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Reading Skills: Making Generalizations About a Writer’s Beliefs

A generalization is a type of inference in which a conclusion is drawn from explicit examples in the text.

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed . . . 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. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak.

from “Walden, or Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau


From walden or life in the woods by henry david thoreau

from Walden, or Life in the Woods Reading Skills: Making Generalizations About a Writer’s Beliefs

As you read Walden, take notes in a two-column journal like the one below.

  • In the left column, list Thoreau’s explicit ideas.

  • In the right column, make generalizations that seem to logically follow from Thoreau’s views.

[End of Section]


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