Walden Chapter 7


3/28/04


English 11 H


Period 1


In this chapter, Thoreau mainly describes his planting and harvesting of his bean plants. However, the larger theme he is trying to convey is one of acceptance of the way life turns out, even if it’s undesirable. He explains that the farmer should not worry if some of his crops wither or are eaten by animals. These things are always inevitable so the farmer should relax and “cease from anxiety” (133). Nature looks upon our lives and our endeavors without any discrimination or special preference. The wellbeing of every other single organism is just as important a priority as those of human beings. Thus, the beans “grow for woodchucks partly” according to natural law and Thoreau really has no control over this. It is best to simply do your labors and let fate carry out its course even if its unwelcome


This chapter reminds me of the argument for determinism, or that a person’s life is already determined by outside forces such as fate. Thoreau argues that no matter what the farmer does, part of his crop will be lost anyway, and he should be resigned to this fact. Thus, this reflects the determinist ideas that humans have little to no control over their lives. This idea is almost like the naturalistic views of Stephen Crane, my author for the author study, except with a positive spin. Crane believed that a person is life is dominated by social and economic factors that will eventually break and destroy him. While Thoreau believes in the inability to have total control over our lives, he does not have the same negativity as Crane in thinking that failure is the ultimate destination in the journey of life.