Lesson 140. “Would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had supplied more background information on his life?”


In this essay I will be talking about Henry David Thoreau, his style of writing, and how it relates to the essay question,”Would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had supplied more background information on his life?”

Main body

To begin let me explain how Thoreau wrote Walden and why it was the wrong style for him to chose.

As you start to read the book, you might probably notice that Thoreau writes with seemingly sophisticated language that includes many different complicated and interesting words. In other words, he uses good rhetoric in his book. The problem is, a lot of what he says would just make no sense to the common reader. The thing is, while his knowledge of complex words is impressive, his clarity of writing is not

Thoreau implements his sophisticated language into the autobiography and in doing so, sacrifices clarity of arguments.

This might not have been much of an issue if he had written a seperate book on his thoughts and views, but Walden was meant to be a autobiography. This is why his rhetorical arguments, which have nothing to do with his background or life, do not really fit well in the autobiography

This leads us to the essay question, which asks the question wether it would have been better, had Thoreau implemented more of his life story in the autobiography, for the readers’ sake. I think, that yes, Walden would have been a better book, had Thoreau maybe included more details about his life and his background, as you will find next to nothing of this in his autobiography.

While he did have the right to write whatever he wanted, his excessive use of rhetoric ended up being somewhat inconsiderate to the average reader, to whom a lot of what he said would have made no sense.

Another point I would like to make, is that Thoreau was not always entirely serious or consistent with his arguments and points that he made. This would further confuse a reader, as he or she may not even be sure if Thoreau was being serious or not.

As a final answer to the essay question, I do think Thoreau should have included more information on his life in his autobiography, as that is the entire point when you write down your life story. Furthermore, this would have helped to give a balance with all his rhetorical arguments that he made, making his book a little more appealing to readers.


In this essay I covered why Thoreau should have used more background information in his autobiography something which the story lacked. Instead, he used many rhetorical arguments to fill pages, making his book hard to follow and hard to understand for the


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