Henry David Thoreau Essay Example


Henry David Thoreau, famed naturalist and environmental writer, writes of numerous excursions and occurrences of nature during his lifetime. One such story known only as Huckleberries, explains in detail the huckleberry fields he worked in as an adolescent and how they changed as he grew older. In nature, there are countless lessons to be taught when working and viewing various organic matters. However, humanity, doing what it does best, quickly monopolized and capitalized such natural beauties. People expect payment for their work in nature. In turn, someone must own the land and be able to provide for their workers. As this issue became increasingly popular, nature no longer reigned free but was tied to man. What once may have been a beautiful, wild, and natural kingdom may now be nothing less than a private field in which trespassing is an illegal offense. Thoreau insists, in a rightful fashion, “What sort of a country is that where the huckleberry fields are private property?” (Thoreau, 1970, pg. 28).

In short, Thoreau is completely and undeniably correct. Should nature belong to man, or to its creator? Of course, if you ask a human, they will say themselves. Nature exists only to serve and create resources. However, if you were to ask a nonhuman organism, they would simply say they belong to themselves and were grown to procreate. It is unfair to assign ownership to a berry, a tree, a mineral, or a blade of grass, since they cannot speak for themselves. They cannot possibly stand up for their creation and cannot object to ownership. Thoreau, whether he knew it or not, was these organisms’ spokesperson. Perhaps that is what nature needs--a strong voice of reason. A person to explain that we cannot own one another; therefore we cannot own another organism, despite believing that they are lesser than us. We must stand in unity with them, take only what we need, replace it, and assure that nature is preserved. We must begin to act like animals, in a way...using what nature provides instead of manufacturing it ourselves. 

Perhaps if we had more people like Thoreau, nature would be more intact. Or, perhaps not. We cannot change the past, only reflect and improve. Though, to improve would mean completely reversing our way of thinking. And, in current day’s times, this proves to be impossible. No matter how many spokespersons we can gather, it seems that nature will always exist to be a man’s pawn.

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