Henry David Thoreau

733 Words3 Pages
Jordan Brooks Mr. Autry English II January 29, 2011 Supreme Individualist Henry David Thoreau declares himself a supreme individualist. He is the greatest of his time in that regard. B.F. Skinner, a psychologist, agrees with Thoreau about the necessity to be an individual, but he claims community is ultimately more important. Being an individual can be rather contradictory, meaning it is both harmless and harmful at the same time. Today many individualists use Thoreau's ideas and have perfected them. Thoreau’s suggestions include solitude and self-reliance, non conformity, and being a minimalist. An individualistic idea of Thoreau says that humans should be self-reliant and solitary. In a quote from Thoreau he expresses this principle, "I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude (Walden. Solitude)." In this quote Thoreau tries to get his concept of self reliance across to the reader. He claims that he is his greatest companion. This idea from Thoreau is functional but there is room for improvement. Mainly because no one, not even Thoreau can be completely self-reliant, regardless of their desire to be so. Some people must rely on those around them; even children, the sick, and elderly. Self-reliance and solidarity are two things very important to Thoreau's numerous references to an individualistic way of living. Thoreau also expresses a strong feeling of non-conformity. “How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity (Conclusion.691)!” In this quote, Thoreau states how the tradition of the world is being over-used and is outdated. Thoreau is the greatest example of a trailblazer. In his time it was unheard of to spend time alone in a forest. Instead of sticking with the norm, Thoreau does what pleases him in going to Walden Pond and spending time away. Thoreau encourages that

More about Henry David Thoreau

Open Document