What is Transendentalism and how did Henry David Thoreau use metaphoric language to promote his ideas on integrating the physical and spiritual aspects of mankind?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 10, 2019, 3:28 am ad1c9bdddf
Title: The Ponds
A classical musician is likely to view Mozart and Beethoven as representing opposite approaches to composition. Mozart composed in impulsive bursts of creativity, sometimes writing entire movements from what he saw and heard in his mind. He is called a "genius." Beethoven wrote and re-wrote painstakingly, never satisfied, and frequently released a work only out of financial need or the pressure of a deadline. He is called a "craftsman." Walden Pond is also the work of a craftsman: it is a complex, structured product of many hours of revision and thoughtful re-writing. No chapter, paragraph, or sentence is placed or worded unthinkingly. The book is built like a pyramid, stone by stone, each paragraph and each chapter in relationship to those [receding and succeeding, and each in relationship to the whole. The middle chapter, "The Ponds," sits atop the structure, perfecting the symmetry. "The Ponds" looks backwards and forwards; it reveals the narrator's experience of integrating his animal and spiritual aspects, but more importantly, using that experience as the cement that holds the book together. The cement/connection is managed through the extensive use of metaphor. Of course, the central metaphor is Walden Pond itself, emerging in "The Ponds" as the culmination of thematic development; anti-climax may follow, re-statement may follow, but never does the melody soar as high as in "The Ponds."
At the beginning, "The Ponds" reminds the reader of the path already traveled; Thoreau, ever the craftsman, excels at recalling past issues in a simple linking sentence between paragraphs or chapters. When he writes "Sometimes, having had a surfeit of human society and gossip, and worn out all my ...
Thoreau's Walden as a vehicle for promoting the Transcendentalist principles of how to live a life. This is a short discussion of how Thoreau's art and craft contribute to understanding "divine principles" and accessing them.