He quotes the Roman philosopher Cato’s warning that it is best to consider buying a farm very carefully before signing the papers.He had been interested in the nearby Hollowell farm, despite the many improvements that needed to be made there, but, before a deed could be drawn, the owner’s wife unexpectedly decided she wanted to keep the farm.
He says outright that he resides in his home as if on Mount Olympus, home of the gods.
He claims a divine freedom from the flow of time, describing himself as fishing in its river.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life . (See Important Quotations Explained) Thoreau recalls the several places where he nearly settled before selecting Walden Pond, all of them estates on a rather large scale.
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Thoreau urges us to wade through the muck that constitutes our everyday lives until we come to a firm place “which we can call Reality, and say, This is.” The stamp of existence we give to our vision of reality—“This is”—evokes God’s simple language in the creation story of Genesis: “Let there be. When we create and claim this reality, all the other “news” of the world shrinks immediately to insignificance, as Thoreau illustrates in his mocking parody of newspapers reporting a cow run over by the Western Railway.
He opines that the last important bit of news to come out of England was about the revolution of , almost two centuries earlier.
Consequently, Thoreau gave up his claim on the property.
Even though he had been prepared to farm a large tract, Thoreau realizes that this outcome may have been for the best.
Forced to simplify his life, he concludes that it is best “as long as possible” to “live free and uncommitted.” Thoreau takes to the woods, dreaming of an existence free of obligations and full of leisure.
He proudly announces that he resides far from the post office and all the constraining social relationships the mail system represents.