Dear Mr. Thoreau


I visited your old home by Walden Pond today. Do you miss it? I am sorry to say that it has changed. The woods are now thick, a jungle of oak and maple and bushy things. Many paths cut through, including a busy road, and the pond is often crowded, I am told; I came on a rainy day, when people of this time are inclined to stay at home.

Buoys and lines of plastic markers mark the water, telling where people can and cannot swim. Several buildings line one side, on a beach that is now called Red Cross Beach because the charity holds training there. They have also brought in more sand, and an asphalt path goes along the beach.

People pilgrimage here from all over the world, people who have been deeply moved by your philosophies. A large cairn stands by the site of your residence; there are rocks here from all over, even a piece of the Berlin Wall. Children come and learn about your ideas and experience here.

I have read some of your book. I found that your writing is thought provoking, and you speak to many things that I believe in. Maybe when I am older, I will live in a woods by a pond, surrounded by feminists and abolitionists, philosophers and writers, naturalists and hippies, and I will write and think too. I will never affect the world as much, though.

Today, I stood knee-deep in your pond, a school of fish watching my toes as if they were a preacher. I wrote this letter in my mind to you.

Sincerely, Amelia

4 thoughts on “Dear Mr. Thoreau

  1. Amelia, this is a very thorough and detailed description of Walden in letter form. This actually reads like a letter and is very descriptive. I like that you use information we learned on our tour (kudos for listening!). Job well done!

  2. Great move to focus on the detail of the plastic markers on the water. That’s yet another example of your good instincts as a writer. Thoreau, I’m guessing, would think it a bit silly to mandate where people can and cannot swim. Your tone suggests to me that you, too, think it’s a little sad. In your response to Daniel, you mention your aversion to Thoreau. That’s something I’d like to hear more about. He was a complicated guy, for sure, and there are plenty of reasons we might not totally buy into his philosophy. So what cracks it for you? And don’t be so sure that you won’t affect the world as much as Thoreau. The future is yours, after all. Thoreau’s had his turn.

    P.S. Here’s that book I mentioned to you in class:

    1. He is too haughty and acts like he’s better than everyone else because he enlightened or whatever. I don’t care that he is perfectly happy eating beans every day, and that he loves being alone, and he thinks everyone should follow his ‘perfect’ lifestyle. I agree with transcendentalism, but not with his attitude. I couldn’t live without different foods. I would love to have a secluded cabin by a lake, anyone would. Plus, he has a really weird beard. And he talks about nature all the time but he couldn’t survive without creature comforts for his life and has only climbed a mountain once. His writing is just really annoying and belittling to read.

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