In a Speech from the Early 1940s, the Poet Ezra Pound Dismissed Thoreau’s Project

Henry David Thoreau decided to remove himself from his ordinary life in society, and relocated himself to an area outside the town Concord. His once typical life now became that of a forest dweller.

He built himself a quaint little home near Walden Pond. He chose to approach a life of simplicity by building his own home, living in the forest gathering his own food and fending for himself in essentially all aspects of his life. Ezra Pond makes a claim that Thoreau is demonstrating his indifference to humans and traditional societies, but that is not the case.Thoreau was merely trying to demonstrate just how unnecessary most societal desires were to live a fulfilled life. Depending on how one looks at it, Pound could be either right or wrong. Thoreau’s actions in no way show any apathy towards humanity. Pound could, however, be considered correct if you see that Thoreau’s actions were in reaction to the increased industrialization of the world.

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He is in no way trying to make society feel inferior, but he is saying that the increased reliance on material and industrial goods is a detriment to the advancement of man’s mind.Society fascinates Thoreau. He describes seeing the birds and squirrels in the forest and talks about the similarities between the actions of the prairie dogs and the workers. To Thoreau, this was a reflection of the beauty and simplicity of nature that those in an industrialized world just couldn’t understand. The village was not nearly as great as the pond or forest. He finds society to be interesting and all, but it becomes too complicated to understand, which is why nature is so much more appealing to him.

In “Economy”, Thoreau discusses the problem of luxuries and material desires. He encourages humans to steer away from lavish desires, and he leads by example by building his house in a simple manner rather than having multiple floors and halls and rooms. He won’t be stressing about paying back loans, making mortgage payments or anything of the sort. Thoreau blames the ever increasing industrialization as the reason for the rise in inequality. Society is no longer equal; it has now become more individualized and people have been sorted into the haves and have-nots.

Thoreau doesn’t think this is natural in any way. He feels that man should rely solely on himself than on luxuries. Just as Thoreau claims in his book, he escaped the dangers of society by boldly cutting himself off from it.

His experiment was not intended to demonstrate indifference with society. He never completely cut himself off from people, because he had an open door policy and would regularly interact with travelers. Rather, his experiment was conducted to show mankind that industrialization and luxuries are not necessary to live a fulfilled life.

Author: Wilbur Brady


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