For Thoreau, the bean-field symbolizes man's capacity through work to become self-reliant. The keystone of his meticulous financial records is the money he earns from selling his beans, which vindicates him by showing that it is possible for any man to support himself easily, dignifying his life with work and depending on no one besides himself and nature. Furthermore, the work itself is pleasurable for Thoreau, who looks forward to his time amid nature planting and hoeing in his field.
The Bean-Field Quotes in Walden
The Walden quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Bean-Field. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
The farmer is endeavoring to solve the problem of a livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself.
Related Characters: Henry David Thoreau (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bean-Field
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Explanation and Analysis:
The Bean-Field Symbol Timeline in Walden
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Bean-Field appears in Walden. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
In order to defray his expenses, Thoreau plants a bean-field of couple of acres and makes a modest gain. The next year he does even... (full context)
Thoreau's daily work is hoeing his bean-field, which he says connects him to the earth He remembers that when he was four... (full context)
Thoreau does his work in the bean-field daily, in the early morning. The pigeons and hawks and other birds that fly overhead... (full context)
Thoreau harvests twelve bushels of beans from his bean-field and sets out charts of all the money he spent in growing the beans and... (full context)