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  1. Elsie0103
    Guest
    #1

    Unhappy Quotes in Walden

    Hello,
    Can anyone explain or paraphrase these quotes for me?
    I have big difficulty understanding what these quotes are trying to say.

    1.To be awake is to be alive.

    2.As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

    2.I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.

    3. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a differnt drummer.

    Please help me! Thanks a million.

  2. #2

    Re: Quotes in Walden

    Quote Originally Posted by Elsie0103 View Post
    Hello,
    Can anyone explain or paraphrase these quotes for me?
    I have big difficulty understanding what these quotes are trying to say.

    1.To be awake is to be alive.

    2.As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

    2.I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.

    3. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a differnt drummer.

    Please help me! Thanks a million.
    These are not easy to explain, but I will 'give it a go'.

    1. To be awake is to be fully conscious and therefore alive and alert to everything happening inside and around you. It is not easy to be fully conscious because so much of our life is spent doing routine things and we do not have the time to 'simplify, simplify, explore your higher altitudes' (another Thoreau quote). You might enjoy the film 'Waking Life', which is on this theme.

    2. To kill time means to do nothing. There are different ways of 'doing nothing'. The positive ways involve doing little more than the absolute essentials in our life. By purposefully 'doing nothing', (or as little as possible), we might hope to attain the state of being awake. The negative ways involve engaging in a lot of meaningless activity. Here, I think Thoreau is alluding to the second option. If we waste our lives in meaningless activity we 'wound' eternity (this is a poetic image).

    3. I have always regretted that.......When we are born, the life of our soul is unsullied by the many experiences that we will undergo in life. Thus, at birth, the soul is pure and filled with the wisdom gained from its previous unincarnated state. We lose this wisdom during the course of our life and Thoreau wants to recapture this early innocence.

    4. If a man chooses to follow his own ideas, rather than those of society in general, he will appear strange to his contemporaries. To hear a different drummer is to pursue ideas different from the mainstream. It is to be impelled to follow your own ideals, rather than socially sanctioned ones.

    I hope this helps.

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