Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Thoreau's 'Economy'

3 Things About Henry David Thoreau:
1. Never trust people who use three names.
2. Dude. This guy has a neckbeard.
3. Louisa May Alcott made jokes relating
Thoreau's neckbeard to his virginity. Haha!
From an in-class writing prompt in Honors Comp II:

In this excerpt, Thoreau recounts an attempt to order a particular style of coat from his tailoress, one that is both older and practical. He describes the cut of the coat, only to have his request denied. The tailoress seems confused by his request, and is certain in her belief that he could not possibly want something out of style. He eventually has to assure her that the style is returning, in order to obtain his desired style of coat.

This anecdote relates to his larger argument, which seems to be that people live by a large number of arbitrary rules, arrived at by a silent, unthinking consensus, which is ultimately beneficial to none. We would be happier, Thoreau seems to be saying, were we to examine these false notions, and live by our own informed choices. In short, if we chose to ‘live deliberately’.

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