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Henry thoreau

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Henry thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on July 12, 1817. He was

born to parents that were very intelligent, yet poor and undistinguished. Despite their struggle

with poverty, "their home was a center of affection and vivacity." Thoreau was the third of four children

and he showed an early love of nature and was the "scholar" of the family, going on to learn many

languages. Because Henry showed so much promise as a student, his parents sent him to Concord

Academy. He later went on to attend Harvard College. With the help of his aunts, and by doing odd

jobs and tutoring, he managed to afford the tuition. Interestingly enough, he graduated from Harvard in

1837 as an honor student and a speaker at commencement, yet he was still unknown.

During his lifetime, Thoreau tried his hand at an assortment of odd jobs. His first

experiment was with teaching. He, along with his older brother John, opened a private school,

but the school was forced to close down after John became ill in 1841. He lived with his friend

and fellow scholar Ralph Waldo Emerson, keeping house and doing chores in exchange for rent

and board. In 1843, he journeyed to the home of Emerson's brother William to tutor. Soon after

the death of John in 1842, Thoreau went to live at Walden Pond, partially as a tribute to his

beloved brother. When he returned from Walden in September of 1847, he again performed an

assortment of jobs. He hired himself out as a painter, carpenter, mason, or a day-laborer

believing "the occupation of a day-laborer to be the most independent of any," he also became

interested in surveying land and went on to become one of the best surveyors in Concord. He even

made time to contribute to the family pencil-making business by inventing a graphite flotation process

which made Thoreau pencils superior to those of competitors.

During his travels, Thoreau also lectured on issues such as slavery. He was an effective

speaker, but lacked Emerson's skill of fully communicating with his audience. His last excursion was

made to Minnesota in 1861. He left, hoping that the trip would improve his health, which had been

severely damaged by bronchitis several years earlier. The Minnesota trip weakened him further causing

him to die shortly afterwards to tuberculosis on May 6,1862. Despite his short life, he suffered many

grievances. He was engaged to be married to Ellen Seawall young in life, but she left him for his older

brother and best friend John. Later on she also dumped John for another man leaving the two brothers

heart broken. Two years later, his brother of lockjaw at the age of 27. That year his sister also died; she

was 36. These events left him saddened and partially caused his retreat to Walden.

Thoreau wrote many things while he was alive, and many of his stories and essays gained much

acclaim after his death. He began writing Journals, a day-to-day recording of many of his ideas and

observations. It would go on to span approximately 14 volumes and become a storehouse of innovative

ideas. During his life, The Transcendental Club (of which he was a member) published "The Dial"

(1840-44) a magazine to which he contributed many essays and poems. However, besides the essay

"Civil Disobedience," Thoreau would probably never have become a classic writer if ...

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