A Transformative Reading of Thoreau's Walden
“Thoreau’s first step is to remind us of how very idle and blockheaded we are. The busy folk ‘mind[ing] their own affairs’ he leaves to their own devices. Books about Walden are also obliged to begin on the right note by sounding Thoreau’s stern wake-up call. Many will find it a jarring note, but there is no better way to wake up from the Procrustean ‘sense of men asleep’ and to get ‘a sick one to lay down his bed and run’ into Walden in time. It may be wisdom to let the dead bury the dead; but Thoreau is convinced that ‘a man is not requried to bury himself.’ He, therefore, begins by asking his readers “Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born?’” —Raymond Tripp
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