Jay's blog


Walking

Posted in Uncategorized by jgarcia1390 on the May 5, 2011

In Yi-Fu Tuan’s epilogue Tuan highlights the fact that human beings have become so at home with the world that they take certain thing s for granted. This is seen Henry David Thoreaus’ essay “Walking,” where he criticizes man kind’s way of life and writes how going on physical and metaphorical walks can improve one’s life.
Throughout his essay we can see that Thoreaus has a somewhat negative perception of how society functions when he criticizes people’s daily routines. Society’s way of thinking is that if one works longer hours one can gain the means of buying more free time. Thoreaus rejects this idea by saying “No wealth can buy the requisite leisure, freedom, and independence (261).” He then equates the act of sitting at home and thinking to one’s self to “rusting” and that people must “walk like a camel” when living their lives (Thoreaus 262).
Thoreaus is proven right by Tuan’s ideas in “Time and Place.” According to Tuan people use “time as a motion or flow and place as a pause (179).” We live our lives by constantly following a day to day routine that takes us from home, to work, the cocktail lounge, and back again. Though some routines may be cyclical, some of the routines we follow are more linear. They consist of levels that solely revolve around the stages in our lives where we make improvements by going to school, getting a job and advancements within our career.
Thoreaus lives his life by rebelling against these routines by constantly taking nature walks where he can free his mind. Instead of constantly moving from place to place, Thoreaus is able to take in the beauty that nature and villages provide. By doing so Thoreaus is better able to get to know the places he visits instead of just moving by them like others do.
According to Tuan, “it takes time to get to know a place (179).” This is exactly what Thoreaus does on his nature walks, by using his time to familiarize himself with places that he would not normally visit; he is able to use time as a tool to make a place more visually appealing. By doing so Thoreaus acquires a “memorial to times past” which gives him something to recount instead of sitting at home and metaphorically rusting (Tuan 179).

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