Literary Devices Used In Thoreau’s Novel Where I Lived And What I Lived For

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

How Thoreau uses antitheses to describe his purpose in going to live in the woods in Paragraph 1

In the first paragraph of “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,” Thoreau uses an antithesis to define his purpose for entering the woods as he explains that by not going to the woods, he would have regretted this action for the rest of his life. Furthermore, his attempts to justify his actions by openly expressing that by not going to the woods, that would have left to an outcome that offered grieving.

Effects of smiles presented in paragrapg 2

Thoreau purposefully connects a simile with some of his cited ideas in an effort to obtain the audience’s attention. Since Thoreau provides a comparison with each of his claims, his readers are able to effectively understand and relate to, on a personal level, his view of an idealized life. An example of a simile employed by Thoreau in paragraph 2 is: “An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest.” Thoreau used this simile to underscore his idea of a perfect life and builds a greater connection between the audience and his idea.

Effects of Thoreau’s repetition of parallel structure

Thoreau utilizes repetition in an effort to stress that the audience must lead a simple life; for example, in paragraph 2, Thoreau exclaims, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”. He clearly wants the audience to lead a life in which they only have what they need, not what they want. Another example of repetition employed by Thoreau is: Let us rise early and fast, or breakfast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and children cry.” In this statement, Thoreau is, once again, emphasizing that people should enjoy what life gives them and make the most of it, without lamentation. Lastly, Thoreau also states: “It is error upon error, and clout upon clout…”; in this sentence, Thoreau attempts to emphasize constant human error and that power and energy are wasted on crafting the “perfect life.”

How effectively the paragraph 3 answer a rhetorical question it opens with

By beginning the third paragraph with a rhetorical question, Thoreau is able to extend this question and apply it to the entire paragraph, while initially pulling in the reader to his thoughts by determining whether the reader agrees or disagrees with him. Thoreau indirectly answers this question by including metaphors and examples, such as, “Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow,” which support his purpose to the audience: for everyone to live a simplistic life. Thus, Thoreau is able to both make the reader think about their current lives and how happy they are, while supporting his point of view effectively.

Meaning of the phrase “starved before we are hungry” in the second sentence of paragraph 3

The phrase, “starved before we are hungry,” is said by Thoreau because he is trying to convey that people want to rush through their life and focus on the future, rather than enjoying each moment in the present. Through his starvation metaphor, Thoreau is able to capture the attention of the reader as it is somewhat hyperbolic—he makes us aware that worrying about what may happen is bringing on unnecessary mental distraught, which is what we set out to avoid. Other examples of paradox from this excerpt of Walden include: “I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born,” which is Thoreau’s attempt to convey that his has found life to be damaging for the whimsical mind of a child.

Comparison of the probable rhetorical effort of paragraph 4 at the time it was written with its effect today.

The rhetorical effect applied by Thoreau in the fourth paragraph intends to convey that society attempts to achieve a worthless goal as most people are unable to see beyond what they are currently facing, which minimizes their mental capacity, thus, forcing each individual to only look after themselves. This makes members of society selfish and history has proven that this is a vicious cycle in society that will not cease until society understands life’s limits. Despite differences in symbols, this message is still applicable in the 21st century as we all work for ourselves and are out for ourselves.

The purpose of the parable in paragraph 5

Based on the context of the paragraph, it seems as if Thoreau is being critical of people who depend on news, claiming that they lose sense of themselves because they are misled by the news, which causes them to only inertly scratch the surface of reality or what’s in front of them. Following the anecdote, Thoreau criticizes the preacher who is enraged at the exhausted farmers at the end of the week and does not tell them to rest in preparation for good work the following week.

The deductive logic in at least one of “if…then” statements in paragraph 6

Thoreau’s resort to such rational logic is purposeful as he wants the audience to be able to assess their life and themselves in order to determine a rough idea of their view and perception. An example of an “if…then” statement that utilizes deductive logic is: “If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets.” In this “if…then” statement, Thoreau is trying to convey a larger idea: that by simply acknowledging what is meant to be, life would successfully function (music and poetry bit).

Meaning of the allusion to Ulysses in paragraph 7

The meaning of the allusion to Ulysses in paragraph 7 (“tied to the mast like Ulysses”) is referring to Odysseus, who was tied to the mast while he passed by the island of the Sirens and he had to be held there as he could not run towards the Sirens. The purpose of this allusion is comparing people giving up their complex lives to Odysseus not running towards the Sirens.

Ways the ideas Thoreau presents in paragraph 6 become the foundation for the beliefs he expresses in paragraph 7

In these paragraphs, Thoreau presents his case as both a nonconformist and a peacemaker; in paragraph 7, he says that to go at your own pace and says to ignore society’s call for action as you are not obligated. Thoreau is trying to convey that people should not worry about something in the present, even if other people are troubled over it. Furthermore, Thoreau sets up this idea in paragraph 6 by stating that if a man were to pause and consider the outcome of his choice, not just focused on the temporary matters, then man would discover that all important things hold weight. By saying to the whistle that it can no longer work, it would be realized that the truth is that while other people’s actions are out of your control, you can control you own reaction.

Sometimes, even the slightest stylistic feature can work effectively as a rhetorical strategy. What is the effect of the alliterative phrase “freshet and frost and fire” in paragraph 7.

The alliteration in the phrase draws the readers’ attention on the particular phrase as it creates a rhythm, but does not necessarily have connotations. Overall, it is notable to the reader and more easily remembered as it emphasizes the phrase’s meaning.

Metaphors regarding time and the intellect in the concluding paragraph

The two metaphors that Thoreau develops regarding time and the intellect are: “Time is but the stream I go fishing in,” and “My head’s hands and feet.” The effect of these two metaphors is that they give another angle of Thoreau’s point of view regarding intellect and time. Thoreau is saying that time is not a concern to him as he does not live within time restraints, rather, he approaches time unhurried. “My head’s hands and feet,” describes Thoreau’s thought process and how he thinks about the way things function or should function.


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