Self-reliance the ability to make your own decisions confidently and independently. (Encarta) Thoreau in his own mind is completely self-reliant. In? Walden? Thoreau explains how he believes the meaning of self-reliant to be. In his mind material possessions do not make a man, but the man makes the man. In this paper I will explain Thoreau? s point of view, and the point of view? s of others.

In the chapter of? Where I Live and What I Live For? Thoreau makes an interesting quote. Thoreau states, "Children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure." (Walden 176) he believes that children innocent of a schedule or have to work are freer than adult men. There lives are not bound by material possessions, but they are free to dream and learn more about themselves in the process. Thoreau sees this and wants to be independent and not be bothered by taxes or debts he has to pay off. Thoreau was a simple man who made up his mind to be fully self-reliant from the rest of the world. Thoreau built his own house Henkel 2 in the woods by a pond called Walden.

His house was small, but he didn? t mind because in his mind material possessions didn? t matter only him and his mind mattered to him. He would not go into the town because it disgusted him that the people there were bent on gaining more and more possessions, where as Thoreau just wanted to spend his time for himself and not for anyone else. Thoreau also thought of nature as like a human being. Nature was beautiful to Thoreau it was what he lived in. Thoreau also took the seasons as beings. He especially liked the seasons of winter going into spring.

He thought of it as though the streams were thawing away its frozen ice so that is could flow. He took this metaphorically, he thought of is as if when a man wants to truly understand himself he must vanquish the? icy frost? of material possessions. Once that was done the man would start to see himself and start to? warm up? to himself. Now that man could? flow? into whatever he originally wanted to become, now knowing his true self.

Thoreau said, ? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. ? It means that not everybody has to follow the same route in life. He Henkel 3 may be? walking to a different beat? but he knows where he is going with it. Thoreau was different, one of-a-kind, and a rebel. He thought of life differently than other people. To me, he thought life was not worth living unless you lived it for yourself.

In this he means that life should not be lived doing things for other people, for instance, work. Work in his mind came down to the fact that you would? have to? be doing something other that what you would? rather? be doing. Thoreau wanted ultimate freedom to spend his time doing things he wanted to do, other than being? run? bye another man for money. Today to achieve self-reliance a person must do everything Thoreau disliked about society. A person today would have to get up every weekday and become a slave for another man so that he could make enough money to live. Over the years the person would have to get into the position of his master to finally live the way he wanted to.

But at when that point in time comes to that person it is already too late for him to really live his life. Thoreau knew this and from the beginning he went on his own and lived not for another man but for himself. This enabled Henkel 4 him to strive and enhance his mind by reading books, meditating, and listening to himself and nature. Thoreau grew as a man of spirit, not as a man of senseless possessions. Thoreau is not thinking about how big a house he could get, but he is thinking about when he is on his deathbed and he looks back at his life, that whether or not he really? lived? his life.

He does not want to through his life away into time and things that will not be important in death. Thoreau is trying to grow spiritually. Some agree with Thoreau in that people today should take more time for themselves. Unfortunately in today? s society if a person steps back from the schedule he / she has, they fall behind and have to go double the pace to get back into a regular life style again. Thoreau was truly self-reliant, he did everything he wanted to do, and on top of that he had plenty of time for himself. He created a life style that suited him so that he could look back on his life, and see that he did something with it.

Today though, if a person wanted to do what Thoreau did, the person would have to move out Henkel 5 of out capitalistic society and place himself somewhere far away from people which is probably impossible. I agree with Thoreau on many accounts, but now in my life I have the taste for material possessions. Thoreau was a very strong willed, bright man who I will take some of his words with me into the future. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Henkel 6 Works Cited Anderson, Charles R.

Thoreau's Vision: The Major Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1973. PS 3042 A 5 Cain, William E. ed. A Historical Guide to HDT.

NY: Oxford UP, 2000. Dean, Bradley P. , ed. Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings of Henry David Thoreau. Co velo, CA: Island P, 1993. Glick, Wendell, ed.

Reform Papers. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1973. PS 3042. G 64 Harding, Walter. The Days of Henry Thoreau: A Biography. NY: Knopf, 1965.

PS 3053. H 3 Myerson, Joel, ed. Critical Essays on Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1988.

PS 3048. C 75 Richardson, Jr. , Robert D. Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind. Berkeley: U of California P, 1986..