14 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2019
    1. this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and stren

      Gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins in Catholicism, is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of food for fun or as "a status symbol" (Wikipedia). In this statement, Thoreau is stating that a man's diet can be simple and he can still be healthy and strong. This statement reminded me of gluttony, because I feel like today people over-eat for luxury or because they can, when really, our diet can be "as the animals."

      Wikipedia Contributors. “Gluttony.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 May 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluttony.

    2. The wind that blowsIs all that any body

      This statement reminds me of the unpredictability of nature and of life. We cannot predict what life will bring and we certainly are not all-knowing. Therefore, as Thoreau says, "the wind that blows is all that any body knows."

    3. w them. On the 1st of April it rained and melted the ice, and in the early part of the day, which was very foggy, I heard a stray goose groping about over the pond and cackling as if lost, or like the spirit

      Thoreau uses description and narration here to paint a picture of the natural world around him, the sounds and imagery. I found it interesting that he compared the cackling of the goose to the "spirit of the fog."

    4. e names of. I would rather sit ona pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart with a free circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe amalariaall the w

      Here, Thoreau is explaining that it is better to be comfortable and healthy, than to be indulgent in luxury but be compromised of his free space and clean air. By this example, he is again stating his position that we should not strive for luxury and that it is ok to live simply. Why be "crowded on a velvet cushion" if you can be comfortable "on a pumpkin"? The same logic applies to luxury purchases in today's world. Why buy a Tesla and be drowning in payments if you can be comfortable in a Honda? Thoreau's comparison is just as true today as in was in 1854. If something serves the same purpose, we should chose the one that meets our needs, not our unrealistic desires.

    5. It is the luxurious and dissipated who set the fashions which the herd so

      This is very true. Celebrities are huge trend-setters and with social media, their influence is more powerful. Why are people so quick to jump on the trends and follow them so diligently? Why do we try to be like the "luxurious and dissipated" and give them authority to influence? Overindulgence does not lead to more happiness. In the end, the rich and poor have the same fate. We do not carry our riches to the grave.

    6. o anticipate, not the sunrise and the dawn merely, but, if pos

      It is interesting this paragraph truly gives nature a persona, describing very complexly a simple topic about anticipations.

    7. for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do

      When I read this sentence, I quickly related it as being directly opposed to the infamous quote by Hippocrates, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." I think Thoreau is trying to convey that with wisdom, desperation is not an option, so "desperate times" do NOT "call for desperate measures", and adversity is clearly not be an excuse for lacking in wisdom and good judgement.

      https://www.gingersoftware.com/content/phrases/desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures/#.XTTyNVNKjVo

    8. Finding that my fellow-citizens were not likely to offer me any room in the court house, or any curacy or living any where else, but I

      This sounds to me like he wasn't very successful at the time he decided to go into the woods, and maybe feeling like he was tossed aside, maybe even a little bitter, and therefore ready to get away from society. Sounds like a typical case of stress.

    9. discontented, and idly complaining of the hardness of their lot or of the times, when they might improve them.

      He is speaking of people who are unhappy, yet do nothing to make themselves happy, and still have to audacity to gripe about it

    10. eds. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or

      This one is so true and timeless. All that really matters is what we think of ourselves and that ultimately makes us who we are.

    11. of him. The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one anot

      I felt this to be a very powerful sentence. He's asking why we put so much stock and care into material things instead of each other, and our world.

    12. Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by the

      I feel that Thoreau is saying that a lot of people just "fall in line' in everyday life, and do what is expected of them, that they can't really enjoy or even entertain a different way of life and they don't even know what they are missing.

  2. Apr 2017
    1. How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation! Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds. Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes? Why should one crustacean, which has an extremely complex mouth formed of many parts, consequently always have fewer legs; or conversely, those with many legs have simpler mouths? Why should the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils in any individual flower, though fitted for such widely different purposes, be all constructed on the same pattern ?

      Reminds me of Thoreau:

      We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man—you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind—I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

    1. We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man—you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind—I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

      Reminds me of Darwin:

      How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation! Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds. Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes? Why should one crustacean, which has an extremely complex mouth formed of many parts, consequently always have fewer legs; or conversely, those with many legs have simpler mouths? Why should the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils in any individual flower, though fitted for such widely different purposes, be all constructed on the same pattern ?