Walden

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Henry David Thoreau

The writer and narrator of Walden. Thoreau moves to the woods by Walden Pond in order to experience solitude, and the book is principally a record of his thoughts and observations. A believer in… (read full character analysis)

Canadian woodchopper

A man who happens upon Thoreau's house. Thoreau spends a bit of time getting to know him, describing him as a stout, simple man who likes to hunt and eat woodchucks and other wild game… (read full character analysis)

John Field

An Irishman and neighbor of Thoreau's living at Baker Farm. Once, in a rainstorm, Thoreau retreats into a hut for shelter and finds John and his family there. John complains about how hard he works… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The Hermit
A recluse of the woods and Thoreau's occasional fishing partner. He is isolated from society and, like Thoreau, a critic of it, believing in the value of a simple, independent existence.
James Collins
A railroad worker whose shanty Thoreau buys and tears down in order to build his house with the timber.
Cato Ingraham
A former inhabitant of the woods near Walden Pond. A slave who was given a house and permission to live in Walden Woods by his master.
Zilpha
A former inhabitant of the woods near Walden Pond. A black woman who liked to sing and sew but whose house was burned down by English soldiers during the war of 1812.
Brister Freeman
A former inhabitant of the woods near Walden Pond. A former slave. Fenda's husband.
Fenda
A former inhabitant of the woods near Walden Pond. Brister Freeman's wife. She was large and liked to tell fortunes.
Stratten family
Former inhabitants of the woods near Walden Pond. A family whose orchards used to cover the hills.
Breed family
Former inhabitants of the woods near Walden Pond. A family whose house was burned down, Thoreau thinks, by mischievous boys. Thoreau finds their only surviving member one night sifting through the rubble of the burned house.
Wyman the potter
A former inhabitant of the woods near Walden Pond. A poor man who made earthenware and paid his taxes with chips of pots, having nothing else to give.
Hugh Quoil
A former inhabitants of the woods near Walden Pond. An Irishman who was, according to rumor, a soldier at Waterloo.