Walden is a masterpiece written by Henry David Thoreau （1817-1862）， who was born in Concord, Massachusetts. The age he lived had witnessed the flourish of capitalism as well as the prosperity of industrialization and urbanization. During the 19th century, the American economy developed at so fast rate that most people were bound up in pursuing the material satisfaction , while ingored the spiritual life to a great extent. But Thoreau was quite different from other people, he disdained the modern civilization and attached more importance to the spirit than the material. He thought many people of his time lived in a non-human-like modern society and many modern appliances, such as trains and telegraphs, had done harm to people's harmonious life peace and also broken the relationship between human and nature.
In order to prove that without the modern instruments , people can also live a happy life, in 1845, he moved into a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond and live there alone for two years to get close to the nature .Walden, is the famous book mainly talks about his life and thoughts during those days living in the woods .
Thoreau was so happy with the life living near the lake of Walden that he felt it a sweet grace to have the nature' accompany and even the sounds of rain and the sights around his house were full of sincere friendship. In his eyes, the nature was an intimate friend of him and all things in the nature were lively and vivacious. And all kinds of animals in the wood, such as field mouses, robins and wild rabbits were amicably treated and regarded as his adorable companions. He even thought that plants were also had the right to live equal with human beings. Just because of this, he even blamed himself for hitting chestnut trees with stones. From many words or sentences, we can easily feel Thoreau's deep love and care towards nature.
Besides, Thoreau was a pioneering nature lover, who called on people to stop destorying nature but protect it by setting himself an example to others. The consciousness of the environmental protection is becoming more and more important in our modern society, while the whole world is trapped in some serious ecological crisises resulting from hunting and killing animals, cutting down trees and polluting the rivers for pursuit of human beings' own interests. We all have the common sense that the number of wildlife is decreasing, the area of lake is shrinking, and the water is not clear any more. What's worse, environment problems such as globe warming, climate change and air and water pollution are deteriorating during the commercial process . So it's high time that we should realize we never be the dominator of the whole world conquring nature, but should spare no efforts to improve the environment right away. That is, we should comply with the natural laws, make reasonable utilization of natural resources and keep the harmonious development between the society and the environment. Only in this way will we has an opportunity to embrace a bright future and achieve a sustainable society .
In the book, Walden, Thoreau not only advocated the protection of nature, but also encourage people to comprehend and return to nature. He told us using his own experience that by living a simple life close to nature, we human beings will find out the true value of life and significance of existence.
After reading the book, what impressed me most is the description of the fascinating scenery around the Walden pound, especially these sentences: "A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows". To Thoreau, the Walden lake is like a charming and melting girl , who has slender eyelashes and likes to dress herself in different beautiful clothes with the changes of different seasons.
Every morning after getting up, Thoreau would have a bath in the Walden lake to start a new day. After that, he used to wander around the pond and refresh himself with the fresh air. In summer days , he cultivated a piece of land and growed beans, blackberries, johnsworts and the like. The depiction of his leisure rurality spontaneously reminds me of Tao Yuanming, the famous Chinese poet, who lived in the Jin Dynasty and made his life meaningful by returning to the nature and perfecting himself. If Thoreau and Tao Yuanming lived in the same period and place, they would probably become best friends.
From the book, we know that during the years when Thoreau lived near the Walden, he did not completely isolate himself from the outside world. Sometimes he went to the town and did odd jobs and would receive visitors and friends in his cabin at times. As I mention before, the intention for his living in the woods was that he wanted to teach people how to live a simple life, achieve enjoyment from the nature, free oneself from the strained daily life and what is more important is to reevaluate the value of social life.
Thoreau's though of enjoying a simple life has a more realistic significance and have become a valuable spiritual wealth in our modern society. With the development of the material civilization, people's desires are swelling limitlessly and many people are busy with the pursuit of wealth and luxurious life by any means, including at the expense of nature. However, even in the society materially affluent and technologically advanced , people are not be more happier than those people who lived centuries ago, but even feel less satisfactory and complaint more about their present life as a result of having unbounded desires of getting more and better. Therefore, many people who possess a lat have become slaves of machine, working more but do not have the ability to enjoy what they have.
In the book Walden, Thoreau had realize this problem several hundreds ago. Thus, he set his mind to give a enlightenment to awake people and encourage them to live a simple life. His thoughts have great similarity with the belief of our Chinese humanism, that is, the meaning of life lies in the sane and healthy enjoyment of a simple life. In fact, Thoreau and his teacher and friend Emerson praised highly on Confucianism and both them benefited a lot from it. I am very happy to see the interlinked place between Chinese culture and western culture.
Reading this book is like having a tranquil steam flow through my heart, washing the dust in my mind. It teaches me how to keep a pure spirit in the complex society, set proper goals for my life as well as enjoy the endows of nature. In short, I feel it quite worthwhile to read the book Walden. I sincerely hope more and more people would like to read this book and receive benefits from it .