Webboard By Kelli Another interesting thing I found when I was reading Walden is the emphasis on the fact that the CLASSICS are the only literature that are worthwhile to read. To him only books that should be read, the only texts that offer insight to the human soul, mind and heart are the Greek, Plato, and the other classics. And not only the classics but the classics in their original form are the only way to read them, translations are unacceptable. I would never be able to deal with an English course at the University if all we read was the classic Greek and Roman literature, in their original forms. I am sure that they are wonderful books and offer a lot to think about but the fact remains that a lot of the ancient texts are a tad out of date. I am not saying that it is not important to read the classics because they do offer very intriguing thoughts on a lot of issues that are still around today, but it is also a worthwhile experience to compare what modern writers are saying to the ancient texts say. Also, it seems that he has a huge dislike for fiction. As we discussed in class he thinks that reading for fun is a frivolous and unnecessary activity. He idea is that reading should only been done to further educate oneself, and education can only be successfully accomplished with the classics. I think this is very untrue, I think that a lot can be said through fiction and can be said in ways that are often times more understandable than the classics would ever be to people. Also fiction can comment on society and many other things without being completely blunt and direct about it, as well as providing a bit of entertainment. Fiction is good! I think that it should be a mixture of the classics and fiction and contemporary, to really achieve the well rounded education that he values in people.
Webboard By Vaughn Reading Walden struck a chord in me. I must say I agree with the vast majority of what I have read so far. It is as though I already believed all these things, but could never articulate them. In fact, I can hardly see how anyone can look at the world today and rightly disagree with Throeau. I believe the main problem is that people are misinterpreting him. As I understood it, he is stating primarily that: 1) a life of wisdom is necessarily a life of simplicity; this makes sense, because if you were to concern yourself with acquiring material things, you would spend you time working for those, rather than educating yourself or thinking; 2) each man should experience the world for himself and learn from it firsthand--not accepting preconceived notions of what cannot be done; in this respect the influence of Thoreau's friend and neighbor Emerson is evident, as this echoes of Emerson's call for everyone to enjoy a more personal relationship with nature; and 3) most men live in "quiet desperation"--caught in a vicious cycle of working and acquiring material luxuries. The more luxuries one has, the more one wants or feels he needs, and the more he must work; this point has become all the more amplified nowadays with the advent of "credit." He also indicates, however, that not everyone need change the way they live their lives--there are many out there for whom the present way of life is working out just fine. Rather, he addresses his book to malcontent masses.
Narrative Task: At Jones write a brief narrative describing your interaction with a given painting. Can anything be learned from this kind of meditation? HW: Post your narrative to the webboard for Tuesday. Also read the rest of Walden.
Webboard By Alexandria From what I've read so far of Walden, I think it rings true more than all the essays we've read thus far in class. I especially liked the part at the beginning about man really only needing shelter, clothes, food, and something else I can't remember right now. So often our lives are so cluttered with things we think we need, when so often, those are only frivolous extras that we get hung up on. It was so fascinating to hear of the Indians who merely lived in a wig-wam and how they were perfectly comfortable through hot summers and cold winters. Too commonly, we think we must have all the heating and cooling and all sorts of silly things to keep us comfortable through uncomfortable periods when really it was all those things that made us uncomfortable in the first place. If we had never grown accustomed to those things to begin with, we wouldn't feel a need to constantly have them, whether or not we need them. I thought this had the most useable advice as well, with insights on how one ought to live as opposed to how he feels comfortable living. Over all, I felt Walden thus far is the most valuable thing we've read in class.