Would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had supplied more background information on his life?

Henry David Thoreau was an American poet, essayist, naturalist, and abolitionist from Concord Massachusetts.  For 26 months he lived alone in the woods along Walden pond,  in a small shack that he built himself.  He took up this lifestyle to get a closer look at what life really was, and to get a deeper understanding of the simple lessons of life.  After his stay at Walden pond he went back to live with his mother and work his family’s pencil factory.  He spent 8 years writing a book called Walden based on the two years and two months that he lived beside Walden pond, this book was not really noticed by the public until after his death in 1862.

I respect the fact that he was willing to dedicate himself for such a large portion of his life to write this book, but I will be honest in saying that this was not an efficient book in terms of delivering an important message to readers.  His writing is very confusing, he claimed to have lived the life of a hermit, when he relied on the stores in town to provide him with day to day necessities.  This was not a hermit lifestyle.  There are countless paragraphs that sound like pure jibber-jabber, they make no sense and leave the reader wondering what is going on.  There are several paragraphs that are absolutely ridiculous and illogical.  Thoreau made himself sound like somewhat of a lunatic in several different instances.

Maybe he had reason behind these statements that appeared to be useless and illogical, but if he had reason behind them, he never shared it.  If Thoreau had provided more background information about himself, and why he went to Walden pond, the book could have made much more since and and been a more effective piece of literature.

This man was a poet, and to understand a poem, you must understand the reason behind the poem, or at some level understand what the poet was feeling.  in my opinion, Thoreau spoke somewhat like a poet, and in this case the reader has no background behind what the “poet” was saying or what it represented.   The book was not a large piece of poetry, but the writing had somewhat of a poetic sound to it.  So, yes, Walden would have been a much better book if Thoreau had provided the reader with more background information.  If a person knows what they are reading and what it means they are less likely to get bored, and they might actually read with interest.

Thoreau said that great poets can be understood only by great poets.  While on most levels I do not agree, it may partially explain the reasons behind the poetic and illogical paragraphs in this book.  Perhaps only men like Thoreau can understand and appreciate the writings of a man like Thoreau, maybe the average person simply cannot appreciate his fantasies of life.

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