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I. Thoreau's Search for Place: From New York City (1843) to Walden Pond.
II. Saving Thoreau's and Our Planet from Climate
In the spring of 1843, Henry David Thoreau, 26 years old, set off for New York City to seek his place in the city’s sparkling literary scene. Ralph Waldo Emerson had made arrangements for Henry to live with Waldo’s brother William on Staten Island. From its natural beauty, Henry made frequent trips to Manhattan to advance his ambition of becoming a great writer. He visited the editor of the Tribune, Horace Greely, poet Walt Whitman, and Henry James (father of the novelist).
Unfortunately Henry’s nature writing was not well received in the city dedicated to money and power: He wrote to Emerson, “Literature comes to a poor market here, and even the little that I write is more than will sell.” Henry, searching for his individuality in the crowds among the city’s affluence and squalor wrote, “The pigs in the street are the most respectable part of the population. When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man?”
Discouraged in December 1843, Thoreau returned home to Concord, where he determined to “be humbly who you are.” In 1845, Henry found his place and voice in the cabin he built on Walden Pond, where he completed A Week…, his first drafts of Walden, and Civil Disobedience. Henry’s sojourn in New York provided an experience of the most hectic and temporal of cities that gave a strong impetus to his lifelong project: cultivating the garden amid the machines.