A stylistic analysis of walden

Get Access Analysis of Walden, by Thoreau, using Stylistic Devices In Walden, Thoreau uses techniques to convey thoughtful reflection and unwavering confidence towards his actions and convictions. By contemplating his past ventures and personal beliefs, he urges the reader to take specific paths in life with a strong and forceful credibility. The semicolons and commas in the first sentence of paragraph four string together his descriptive memories of the Hollowell farm in a long and drawn out manner.

A stylistic analysis of walden

Any study of Henry David Thoreau's writings should reckon with the rhetoric of his literary works. He sought not only to express his ideas, but to communicate them with the same immediacy he had experienced, so that his readers could, at least partially, recreate living ideas.

The vast influence of Walden and "Civil Disobedience" today suggests that he did succeed in powerfully affecting many readers' minds.

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Thoreau's rhetorical strategies, particularly in Walden, are closely related to the "new rhetoric" which, as Kenneth Burke has stated, seeks "to create a dialectic between the writer and the reader" through identification.

Moldenhauer has explored this dialectic in Walden, finding a carefully counterpointed relationship between the ideal and the actual writer and the ideal and the actual reader, created primarily by Thoreau's constant use of paradox.

Note It is, however, not exactly rhetorical identification that Thoreau desired--he definitely did not wish to foster a brood of "imitation Thoreaus"; rather, he sought to provoke alert readers to apprehend and probe truths through their own mental and emotional resources.

Thoreau's rhetoric of paradox, indirection, authority, and irony works to define, interest, and ultimately involve the reader in a shared experience of discovery. As early asThoreau had rejected many elements of the rhetorical theories then current, judging them inadequate, insincere, and sophistic.

A stylistic analysis of walden

From time to time, in his Journal he berated those who tried to separate style from content by focusing on ornamental and manipulative aspects of rhetoric. He particularly disliked admonitions to develop a wordy, "flowing" style of what he called "long, stingy, slimy sentences.

Sentences which suggest far more than they say, which have an atmosphere about them, which do not merely report an old, but make a new impression; sentences A stylistic analysis of walden suggest as many things and are as durable as Roman aqueducts; to frame these, that is the art of writing.

Note These would be truly rhetorical sentences, having "the beauty and variety of mosaic with the strength and compactness of masonry. Evidently Professor Channing himself did not subscribe entirely to the rhetorical theories which he taught, and may well have denigrated theories which emphasized stylistic ornamentation and manipulation of the reader's emotions.

This is indicated by the fact that one of the assigned essay topics was "The Ways in Which a Man's Style may be said to offend against Simplicity.

If the author would acquire literary fame, let him be careful to suggest such thoughts as are simple and obvious, and to express his meaning distinctly and in good language. To do this, he must, in the first place, omit all superfluous ornament, which, though very proper in its place,--if, indeed it can be said to have any in good composition,--tends rather to distract the mind, than to render a passage more clear and striking, or an idea more distinct.


Note It would seem fair to assume, then, that Professor Channing encouraged his students to study rhetorical theories critically, accepting only those principles relevant to their own needs and styles. Of course, Thoreau's personality would have demanded such a careful examination, whether Professor Channing had encouraged it or not.

Whether Thoreau studied the rhetorical theories of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, or Quintilian cannot be determined. These works were not included in the formal Harvard curriculum, but Channing probably presented them in his lectures.

Thoreau could have read them in Latin and Greek, but the fact that he never mentioned them by name indicates that Professor Channing may have been his major source of knowledge about classical rhetoric.

The oratorial purposes of these works would have meant little to him once he left the college debating society, especially when his later lectures proved unpopular. Thoreau did agree with Plato that "a good writer is a good man writing. Note Quintilian's Institutes and Cicero's De Oratore offered little for Thoreau aside from Cicero's extended description of the plain style.

Analysis of Walden, by Thoreau, using Stylistic Devices | Essay Example

Thoreau definitely rejected one element of rhetorical theory which had its source in Aristotle and blossomed fully with the sophists: Most of Thoreau's knowledge of rhetorical theories probably came from two or three rhetoric textbooks which were quite popular in the early nineteenth century.

He was probably exposed, perhaps in Channing's lectures, to George Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetorica standard text frequently republished through the nineteenth century; however, he did not own it or borrow it from the library that we know of and he may not have read it himself.

Note Thoreau must have disagreed with much of what he read in Hugh Blair's book, especially the first chapters on Taste, which call for writing geared to universal acceptances of the past, "the general sentiments of men. Blair did write about the sublime style of conciseness and simplicity which is derived from nature, but these words found meaning in the context of Thoreau's writing which Blair probably never imagined.

Rhetorical Devices in Walden - Owl Eyes

If Thoreau was familiar with Campbell's theories, which were based on the empirical and skeptical lines of David Hume's philosophy, he left no written reaction to it.

It can surely be discounted as having any significant influence on Thoreau's rhetoric. For two-thirds of his sophomore year, this was his major rhetoric text; he was subsequently examined on it by a committee which included Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Fortunately, Whately had much to say to the future writer of Walden.Thoreau's "Walden" Summary and Analysis Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List While Thoreau lived at Walden (July 4, –September 6, ), he wrote journal entries and prepared lyceum lectures on his experiment in living at the pond.

Walden; How to Write Literary Analysis; Walden by: Henry David Thoreau Summary. Plot Overview How to Write Literary Analysis The Literary Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide as well as your chosen image, symbol, or phrase’s role in developing the major themes and stylistic strategies of that work.

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Criticism: Thoreau

Walden: a Rhetorical Analysis. Walden: Rhetorical Analysis In Thoreau’s book Walden, he makes critical observations about society, and gives his solutions for the problems that . Analysis of Walden, by Thoreau, using Stylistic Devices Essay Sample.

In Walden, Thoreau uses techniques to convey thoughtful reflection and unwavering confidence towards his actions and convictions. View this essay on Literary Analysis of Walden by Thoreau. Thoreau will be forever associated with the notion that a greatly simplified life that does not emphasize.

Analysis and Notes on Walden Henry Thoreau's Text with Adjacent Thoreauvian Commentary O n July 4, , as a statement of personal independence, Henry Thoreau (pronounced "thorough") (NOTE: No one called him "Henry David Thoreau" during his life) moved into a cabin at Walden Pond.

Walden: a Rhetorical Analysis - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries