This handout begins with an introduction about the background, overall structure, importance, and influence of Thoreau’s masterpiece. Detailed analyses, including themes, structure, and symbolism, are then given of chapter one (“Economy”), “chapter two (“Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”), and chapter eighteen (“Conclusion”).
Separate from the handout and following the answer key, I have included two long notes of four pages, titled “To the Teacher.” One discusses Thoreau’s life in detail and includes several anecdotes about him that my students have found entertaining. The second, which I use at the end of my class’s unit on “Walden,” analyzes four overall aspects of the book and is designed to help students as they tie together the textured strands of Thoreau’s brilliant work.
My handout, which has blanks that your students can fill in, is suitable for a homework assignment or as an in-class activity. Its long notes section might also provide some esoteric and amusing information which you can incorporate into your class discussions on “Walden.” As mentioned, an answer key is provided on two separate pages at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.