Self-discovery – Walden Analysis

 Self-discovery – Walden Analysis

Self-discovery is a process that helps one gain the understanding of one self, your beliefs, motivation and needs. Self-discovery is a journey and that means you cannot wake up to self-discovery. It not only unveils the paths to your truth but it also helps you to become more comfortable with your life and all it has to give. It’s basically a pilgrimage or series of occurrences in a human being. These occurrences help individuals to determine their feelings towards different issues on earth. People get to understand their stands on matters to do with spirituality, politics and social life. It’s also a journey that helps an individual to understand and set their priorities right. Self-discovery gives a person liberty to have their own influence in matters away from friends, family, neighbors or even peers.

This book “Walden Pond” was authored by Henry David Thoreau. At some point he felt a need to stay away from people and discover himself. His friend Emerson owned a plot in the woods and he gave him to build a house there. While Henry was there he had revolutionized his working hours to be lesser than normal. His schedule was not tight and hence gave him ample time to concentrate with his philosophy and literally interests. He dwelled in the woods for more than two years. The interest of people to know how he was surviving under his new life style triggered him to compile his experiments in this book. We learn a lot from this book about self-discovery from a first person narrative experience. Most people have remained ignorant about their true self but David Henry teaches us how to open to self-discovery by the below means.

Thoreau deeply felt than men are lacking self-reliance. By what he observed in the society, he felt it is making a wrong progress. He had an issue with this civilized man who built a coach but lost the use of his feet (Henry, 12). Thoreau felt that people are hiding from themselves and do not want confront the issues that are coming their instead they confide in other people. Thoreau felt that the basic reason why we need people is for them to fill in the gap of our damaged inner beings. According to him, it was important for people to be financially independent from other people and the government. Thoreau was up to the task of learning to enjoy his own company by living alone. He redefined his living alone from carrying out daily chores to offering himself enjoyable company and moral guidance. He insists on one dwelling on them and avoids being a duplicate for other people. He says that an original you is a gift you can present to yourself anytime, where else an imitated trait or talent had to gift yourself because you only partially own it. Henry says that one should change themselves before they even think of changing the world.

Thoreau went to live by the woods where he lived all by himself. It was a high time he became his own cheer leader it is in this specified time that he had very many experiences that were recorded in this book. There too he had ample time to concentrate with what he enjoyed doing because he had to look for something to keep him busy (Levin, 41). We should learn to take solace moment away from everybody and everything and go organize our lives as well as discover what we love doing. In this solace moment of Henry he discovered that it is possible for one to work less and still leave a comfortable life. This is because most of the times the reason as to why we work so hard is because of external pressure. Someone said we should be driving a certain car so we have to work tirelessly to meet those requirements.

Thoreau perceived technology to be a detractor that was not necessary. According to him new inventions had visible benefits however he felt that they did not address the real challenges that faced people’s happiness (Henry, 65). These inventions are distracters that seem beautiful but in real sense interfere with the serious happenings around us. We have based our happiness on money, work, friends, technology among others but Henry thinks that our happiness is in time. We spend long hours making money that we don’t have time to use.

We do not have time to search ourselves and even learn where our happiness lies because we are so much glued into distracters that are not real. It is after Henry went to the woods and forgot about his job in the pencil company that he found fulfillment. He worked for very few hours, in fact six weeks an year and used the extra time in explore (Levin, 45). We spend so much time on things that can be done away with like spending time on TV, working so hard in the office, families, church activities among others to an extent we forget about our time and happiness. Henry teaches us that we should first love ourselves, have time for ourselves before we extend it to others. We can trace ourselves and our happiness by working for only what we need. We are supposed to do away with things that are not very relevant to us in order to cut the cost of living. Some people have more than one house to live in different places of their preference and they are still looking for money to buy more. This kind of life leads to people spending most of their time looking for money to satisfy these needs.

Henry advised us to see ourselves as part of nature. He says we should perceive ourselves as nature looking into nature rather than our obvious perception that we are masters of nature or external forces of nature. We should be alert to find God in nature since nature is full of spiritual significance. He had a thought about animals, forests and waterfalls not only to play a role in the ecosystem but also beautifying nature. He said it would please him seeing the land in a wild state (Henry, 26). Unlike money, technology and people’s opinions, nature teaches us humility and enhances self-discovery and self-examination. If only human beings could have the right conscience, they could overcome their previous limitations and ideas. Forgetting money and technology, a sober mental state would initiate real progress. New discoveries are on our ways if only we clear our lives from unnecessary distractions and contemplate about ourselves.

Imagine a situation whereby human being will perceive themselves to not only have a role in acquiring wealth on the face of the earth but to also relax and spend idle time enjoying themselves? They would have enough time to explore the world and natural resources. In the process of touring and exploring the world, they would discover a way on how to use natural resources to make money (Levin, 19). Henry emphasis that we should trace God in nature, if only human beings would spend ample time searching for God, He would give them the fulfillment they are chasing. Henry studied about nature and this earned him a title “fathers of environmentalists”

Thoreau also had social experiments. In his new house in the woods he had three chairs always left for visitors. Despite his love for solitude he also enjoyed company from people who came visiting even more than they visited him in the city. There is a whole chapter in this book that has placed its focus on the coming in and going out of his visitors. Mostly his visitors were people who were working nearby. Thoreau discovered that among his visitors’ women and children enjoyed the pond more than men. This was because men’s lives were limited because their lives were taken up (Levin, 34). There was also a man that accompanied Henry to go fishing. No man is an island; there are things you discover from nature and others you discover from other people’s views about you. Henry encourages your opinion over people’s opinion but again there are things that must be derived from people.


Self-discovery is a concept that should be admired by everybody and all should be yearning to get to a stage where they understand themselves. It would be so unfair and sad for someone to die before discovering who they really are. It’s also unfortunate to trace yourself in the wrong avenues. In order for us to discover ourselves, we should learn the principle of independence and self-reliance in social and economic life as far as financial and interpersonal relationship is concerned (Henry, 38). We should try as much as possible to seek simplified lifestyles. This is where we just supply our basic needs and forget all luxuries. We should minimize our consumer activities and rely on leisure time and ourselves in everything. It is unwise for anybody to think that any external improvement will satisfy our inner being. We should be ready to spend quality and solicited moments alone so as to allow ourselves grow fond of us to facilitate a favorable environment of self-discovery.

Works Cited

Thoreau, Henry David. “Walden Civil Disobedience and Other Writings.” W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. Print.

Levin, Jonathan.  Introduction: Walden and Civil Disobedience. Barnes and Noble Classics. 2003. Print. 

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