Was Thoreau Dependent on the Division of Labor While He was Living on Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862), was a 19th century American philosopher and writer. His best known written work was his autobiography titled, Walden. Which was about his life when he “cut,” himself off from society; living a lifestyle independent from the division of labor(this only lasted for about two years). The way that Thoreau “cuts,” himself off from society was living in the woods surrounded by nature, by a pond. Even though he wanted to live independent from the division of labor he still was rather dependent on it, for these reasons which I will list below.

The first reason was the fact that Thoreau didn’t even own the property he resided on, it was actually a friend’s property, making him a squatter. Basically meaning he had depended on someone else to provide the land he would reside in. Even though he built the “hut,” that he lived in he still bought all the materials for the hut. Another thing to note was the fact that he had bought tools and supplies for this “experiment,’ to survive, meaning that again Thoreau had depended on someone, who was able to make those supplies or tools, to sell them to him. 

For food Thoreau decided to plant food on the property, but instead of getting dirty and planting his food all on his own he actually hired people to do some of the work for him. So long to cutting yourself off from society I guess. But to justify it he made it seem that he had done the work, which did not work well for him. On the note of being separate from society Thoreau was most definitely not completely cut off from society, he actually interacted and spent time with friends in town during this time, he even did this more than once during the week. Eventually a little after two years of living this way, twenty six months to be exact, Thoreau rather gave up and returned back to society. He began working for his family’s pencil business, which he did for the rest of his life, meaning that he relied on the division of labor for the rest of his life. He never returned back to the life of being separate from society ever again.

In short, Thoreau was very much dependent on the division of labor when he lived on Walden Pond, he actually depended on the division of labor his entire life. Even though throughout the book Thoreau constantly contradicts what he states he wants to do with what he actually does, his autobiography did very well. Because of how many times Thoreau contradicts himself I have a difficult time reading his book seriously, which makes it pretty difficult for me to understand why people liked this book so much. But with that being said these are the main reasons why Thoreau was dependent on the division of labor like everyone else.

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