Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, and naturalist. In his young adult years he decided to go live in the woods near Walden pond to study life closer and try to discover the simple lessons of life. He spent 26 months living alone in a small shack he built himself along the shore of Walden pond. After his venture of life in the woods, he returned to work at his family’s factory, he spent 8 years writing an account of the 26 months he spent at Walden pond he titled this book “Walden.” The book did not gain any real attention until after his death in 1861, it is now considered a substantial piece in American literature.
Throughout the book, he went into great detail of his fascination of nature surrounding him. At times, the reader may get the sense that he is in a trance with nature. He will go on and on about a lake, an ant fight, or loons, his writing starts to sound like the narration of a nature documentary that lacks scientific facts. He goes into poetic detail about simple aspects of nature, that are very dull because they do not really make sense. Personally, I do not think things should be included in one’s autobiography unless they had a major effect on that person’s life. Perhaps ant wars and loons were a big part of Thoreau’s life, but if they were, he does not say why.
As the writer of an autobiography about life in the woods, I would spend more pages describing loons instead of ant wars. Ant wars are nothing foreign to me, where I live, I often see two ants fighting. Whether they are fighting over a female, or food, I have no idea, and it really does not mean anything to me. Which means it would waste both my time, and the time of the reader to add it in my autobiography. I would perhaps spend some time talking about loons because they are beautiful birds, and they are not common where I live. They are fascinating especially to someone who is not familiar with them. While they are interesting, I would not spend pages to describe them and their actions, at the very most I would devote a paragraph to them. When someone reads an autobiography about a person, they want to learn about that person. If the birds changed my outlook on life, then yes, perhaps I would go into detail about them.
An autobiography about life in the woods should somewhat be based around living in the woods, but that does not mean it should be about the woods. If there is something in nature that is of great importance to the writer, or something that revolutionizes their outlook on life, then by all means, they should discuss it, but it is important to discuss why the particular scene was important, otherwise it has no purpose in the autobiography.
2 thoughts on “As a writer of an autobiography about life in the woods, would you spend more pages describing an ant war or loons? Why?”
sounds like a stupid book. My older sister hated it.
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I wanted to slam my head into the wall every time I attempted to read it.
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