The colonial period

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Finally, although Thoreau's life at Walden Pond between 1845 and 1847 constituted a community of only one, his stay there was just as much an experiment in living and an attempt at applied idealism as were Brook Farm and Fruitlands.

The Transcendentalists believed in the importance of a direct relationship with God and with nature.

Thoreau, who was born and lived almost his entire life in Concord, went to live at Walden Pond in 1845 to experience nature directly and intensely and to test his Transcendental outlook in the concrete physical world.  The full title of the work is, Walden; or, Life in the Woods and it is also known under the title Walden Pond. The book is often characterized as the result of Thoreau's attempt to 'live life simply.' A Nature of Walden consisted of Autobiographical account, a journey of spiritual discovery, a manual for self-reliance, a treaty of moral philosophy, a book on natural history and a critique of Western values.

The question of its structure has puzzled many critics, with some focusing on the cycle of the seasons as symbolic death and rebirth, and others on whether it is unified in spite of the oppositions it contains. It is not an easy book for a reader -- especially a first time reader -- to sort out and to find order in.

Stucture: Economy, Where I lived, and what I lived for, Reading, Sounds, Solitude, Visitors, The Pond, Baker Farm, Higher Lands, Brute Neighbors, Winter Animals,The Pond in Winter, Spring, Conclusion.

New England Transcendentalism as a movement really thrived only for about twenty-five years. The world was not completely reformed by the words and efforts of its proponents. But people today still read Emerson's Nature and Thoreau's Walden. The importance of these thinkers lies in the endurance of their major writings as American classics, worth reading in any period, in their influence upon later writers, American and foreign, and in the powerful inspiration that their reform efforts provided to later social movements, notably the impetus given to Mohandas Gandhi and to the American civil rights movement of the 1960s by Thoreau's principle of nonviolent resistance to oppressive civil government as expressed in Civil Disobedience (first published in 1849).

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