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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Walden published in 1995.).
The farmer is endeavoring to solve the problem of a livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself.
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.