Thoreau’s Celebration of Native American Freedom

In his famous work of Transcendentalist literature, Walden, Thoreau attacks American consumerism, urbanization and capitalist forms of labor for the way each works to destroy the nation’s mental and physical health. His experiment at Walden Pond, then, was an attempt to live by self-reliance and necessity alone (food, shelter, fuel, clothing), as well as an attempt to live a simple life of Transcendental solitude and self-reflection in nature, outside the city and its modern demands.In his first chapter, “Economy,” Thoreau thus hopes to awaken his audience to the damaging reality of modern life by comparing “civilized” to “savage” lifeways, arguing that Native Americans and other indigenous peoples live far richer, more contented lives than their “civilized” counterparts.For this assignment, explain Thoreau’s argument and position. Why does he think indigenous people live richer lives than the modern, “civilized” poor? How is his criticism of these modern realities (fashion, homes, debt, etc.) supported by his Transcendentalist (self-reliant) notion of selfhood?