Thoreau "Where I Lived, And What I Lived For" Disc Essay

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Anna Guillory
Ms. Rasmussen
English III AP-period 4
17 January 2012

AP Text, page 276 “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” by Henry David Thoreau
Questions for Discussion
  1. What is Henry David Thoreau calling for early in paragraph 2 when he writes, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”?

Thoreau desires for man to wish for a simple life, only living on what is needed to survive and sustain himself, and not concern himself with material possessions or extra indulgencies, but only those that nourish his body and soul. He is calling for a life of simplicity.

  2. Thoreau writes, “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us”(para. 2). Consider an electronic device (such as a notebook computer, a cellphone, a PDA, or an MP3 player). What would Thoreau say about it? Has this device helped to simplify our lives, or has it had a negative impact on them?

Thoreau would despise and disdain such electronic devices and make them out to be distractions and extra necessities in our lives, because of his resentment and lax attitude toward subjects such as communication and industrialism. I believe technological devices have made a benefit in people’s lives who use them in moderation, but those who indulge and excessively spend time on and with them become unaware of the world around them and too consumed with the distractions they impose, not to mention the time they waste and space they take up. Those who use technological devices in moderation can communicate with loved ones far away, or utilize them in ways that make life easier, and in some ways simpler, for example, calling a family member who is running errands to pick up food from the grocery store so you can stay home and   read a book.

  5. Do you think Thoreau’s advice and sentiments in this essay are meant as recommendations for living one’s entire life or as suggestions for periodically reflecting on life’s true meaning? Is he suggesting isolation as a lifestyle?

I believe Thoreau...

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