Where I Lived and What I Lived
Book Review of Where I Lived, And What I Lived For
Reading Response: Where I Lived, and What I lived For
“Time is but the stream I go afishing in” (Thoreau, 38). This represents time to a stream; an endless stream that goes on and empties into the vast ocean which it seems to be of no end. This reference to time speaks of life as forever flowing. The memories that we make and ponder about, continues to live forever. In that same paragraph it also says “I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is” (Thoreau, 38). This shallowness of the streams creates the thought that time is short. It is this shortness of life that reinforces the idea of Thoreau to live life and make some meaning out of it.
“The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things” (Thoreau 38). A cleaver is a tool used to cut and slice objects, this ability to create an opening is the comparison that Thoreau uses towards intellect. With knowledge, you will able to see and understand things that those with education may not understand. For example, in the past without the knowledge of science, people used religion and other means to explain the mysteries of the world, like rain, earthquakes, stars, etc. But with knowledge we are able to see through these things and understand the truth in life. This ability to see the truth supports his ideas of becoming more knowledgeable in life; to learn new things and to place yourself in new situations that will allow you to ever be wiser in life.
“If we do not get our sleepers, and forge rails, and devote days and nights to the work, but go to tinkering upon our lives to improve them, who will build railroads… Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad?” (Thoreau, 34). The “sleepers” that Thoreau mentions in this quote, represents the workers who work on the railroads. They are not fully awake to see what life is offering and appreciate it enough. They work on the railroad to improve transportation to be faster and more efficient and he is wondering why people want life to be in such a hurry.