Walden

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Walden Pond Symbol Analysis

Walden Pond Symbol Icon
In Walden, certain facets of the physical world become symbolic because of the meaning that Thoreau attaches to them. Walden Pond, at the edge of which he lives, symbolizes the spiritual significance of nature. Every morning, Thoreau takes a bath in the pond and calls it a religious experience, reminding him of nature's endless capacity to renew life and stirring him to higher aspirations. He laments that the townspeople pump the pond's water into their houses to do their dishes, calling the water "as sacred as the Ganges," referencing the River Ganges in Indian which was believed to be holy.
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Walden Pond Symbol Timeline in Walden

The timeline below shows where the symbol Walden Pond appears in Walden. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Economy
Solitude and Society Theme Icon
For two years and two months Thoreau lived alone in the woods by Walden Pond , in Concord, Massachusetts, where he wrote the bulk of the book, though now he... (full context)
Self-Reliance Theme Icon
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Simplicity Over "Progress" Theme Icon
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Transcendentalism, Spirituality, and the Good Life Theme Icon
In March 1845, Thoreau recounts, he went to Walden Pond and began to cut down trees for his house, singing while he did his work... (full context)
Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
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Transcendentalism, Spirituality, and the Good Life Theme Icon
Thoreau's first impression of the pond, which is sometimes misty in the early morning, sometimes still and clear as when there... (full context)
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Simplicity Over "Progress" Theme Icon
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Transcendentalism, Spirituality, and the Good Life Theme Icon
...to make his life simple and commune with nature. Every morning he bathes in the pond, calling it a "religious exercise." He calls morning the time that all important events, including... (full context)
Solitude
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Walking along the pond, enjoying the animals, Thoreau believes that his solitude makes him a part of nature and... (full context)
Visitors
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Among Thoreau's other visitors include those who ask for water (he points them to the pond); a man who announces he is simple-minded and whom Thoreau greatly respects because of his... (full context)
The Ponds
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Transcendentalism, Spirituality, and the Good Life Theme Icon
...peacefully by ducks and geese and frogs and other wildlife, like White Pond, a nearby pond it resembles. Thoreau drinks from the pond, and remembers coming to the pond before he... (full context)
Simplicity Over "Progress" Theme Icon
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There are tracks around the pond that, Thoreau thinks, were made by aboriginal hunters. According to an Indian fable, a group... (full context)
Simplicity Over "Progress" Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Transcendentalism, Spirituality, and the Good Life Theme Icon
...is much larger and more shallow, less pure, and has more fish. Thoreau laments that pond's boring name and wishes that natural features were named not after the farmers who happened... (full context)
Brute Neighbors
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...talks with a recluse who lives in the woods, the Hermit, about going to the pond to fish together. Then, Thoreau explains of his thoughts about animals, who, he says, "are... (full context)
House-Warming
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The first ice that forms over the pond, Thoreau says, is hard, dark, and transparent, and through it he studies the bottom of... (full context)
The Pond in Winter
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Transcendentalism, Spirituality, and the Good Life Theme Icon
...his window, which asks no questions and answers none either. He goes out to the pond in search of water to drink, making his way through snow and ice. As he... (full context)
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Wondering how deep the pond is, Thoreau determines the shape of its bottom using a stone and a cord. He... (full context)
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In the winter, many people come from town to collect ice from the pond in order to save it for summer, when they will add it to their drinks... (full context)
Spring
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...watching spring arrive. The ice on Walden Pond is always the last of all the ponds' ice to melt, because that pond is the deepest. Thoreau provides temperature readings of the... (full context)
Conclusion
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...week of living at Walden, he had tread a path from his door to the pond. He says that every man must follow his own course; if he simplifies his life,... (full context)