Henry David Thoreau Essay

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Brendan Mantey Mr. Foster AP Lit 12 September 31st, 2014 Henry David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau is best known for his writings on Natural history and philosophy, his belief in the destruction society and government have on the individual, being an abolitionist, giving a basis for revolutionaries to come, and his creativity of writing in a way that promoted integrity. Thoreau was born on July 12th, 1817 in Concord Massachusetts. His father, John, was a shopkeeper and his mother, Cynthia, took in boarders to help support the family. His father eventually opened up a pencil making job to bring financial stability to the family. His brother and sister, Helen and John, both became schoolteachers (Witherell 2). Henry grew up in the same way he lived his whole life, looking to nature to find the ultimate truth (Woodlief 3). One of his first memories was “looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them.” His brother, John, taught school to help pay for Henry’s tuition at Harvard. While there, he studied Greek, Latin and German. He graduated from college in 1837 and set up a school with his brother in 1838 (“Henry David Thoreau” 4). After a few years, this he stopped teaching when John became ill with lock jaw. After this incident, he worked for his father as a surveyor and making pencils until 1945. This is when he met up with his Concord neighbor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, where he was introduced to Transcendentalism. Emerson acted as a mentor to Thoreau and used his influences to help promote Thoreau’s first works. Perhaps one of the most important things in Thoreau’s life, Ralph Emerson gave him a plot of land to live on and start his first book. Thoreau built a cabin on Walden Pond, where he created his most renowned book, Walden. He first moved here in search of a simpler way of life. While here, and refusing to pay his taxes, Thoreau was jailed,

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