Walden Chapter 3


3/22/04


English 11 H


Period 1


In this chapter of Walden, Thoreau mainly analyzes the different aspects and interpretations of education. He begins by explaining that writing is the most mature form of communication and the most elegant. He then criticizes people for not taking the initiative to read the classics, such as Plato and Homer, which are the, as he says, “the noblest recorded thoughts of man” (80). When people get out of grade school, they do not exercise their minds, and instead let their mental capacities that they’ve hone throughout their schooling. They read newspapers and other easy reading pieces that would satisfy the intellect of children and morons. Even the supposedly “educated” fall pretty to this problem and don’t read enough classics to be truly enlightened. Thoreau notes that most of the supposed intellectuals in Concorde probably haven’t read anything substantial in their lives.


I think Thoreau is very accurate in his depiction of education after school. Most people choose to stop any serious intellectual thought and reflection after graduate school. They drone on with their daily lives, letting repetition and consistency dominate their lives, because it gives them a sense of security. They perform the same tasks daily, and their brains are never exercised enough to prevent atrophying. They only use their brains enough to get their jobs done and get by each day. It ironic how people nowadays think that relaxation means getting away from work and not having to use your brains, while relaxation is actually getting away form the endless cycles of work and exercising your brain with fresh thoughts and new ideas.