What to Look For in ‘Winter Animals’

This chapter is sort of an integrated sequel to Sounds and Brute Neighbors, set in winter. Winter animals Thoreau would see or hear included fox and their persistent hounds, owl, squirrel, blue jay, chicadee, mice, partridge, wild cat, and rabbit. Deer, bear, and...

What to Look For in ‘House-Warming’

Have you noticed how we are moving through the seasons? We now enter autumn, the time of harvests, trees turning to colors, and finding warmth. “I now began to inhabit my house, I may say, when I began to use it for warmth as well as shelter.” We know Thoreau loved...

What to Look For in ‘Brute Neighbors’

After being rather lectured on chastity and carnivores in the last chapter, it’s time for some humor. We begin with a satirical and self-effacing mock dialogue between the Hermit and the Poet. These voices are commonly understood as Thoreau and Ellery Channing, or...

What to Look For in ‘Higher Laws’

The term Higher Law became popular in the mid-nineteenth century as an argument against the institution of slavery. In Slavery in Massachusetts, Thoreau writes, “What is wanted is men, not of policy, but of probity, —who recognize a higher law than the Constitution,...