A Few Words from the Authors

It may seem difficult at time to decipher just exactly what an author’s message may be. There’s a sea of themes floating around, but how do they all connect? Perhaps the easiest way is not to take highly ornate notes on a single topic, but instead, attempt to make connections with other books. Even if that book seems like the polar opposite of another, there are messages which may tie together quite nicely. The first novel that we read, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is drastically different from any novel following it, like Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Despite the obvious differences between these two works, there still exists similar messages from different authors. Thoreau talks about a lot of the problems he would like to fix by isolating himself from society at Walden Pond. Both narrators in Carroll and Thoreau’s works that we’ve examined seem to take on the perspective of an observer to society. Alice comes into a world that is much different than the one she is used to, being quick to judge what she sees. She quickly learns, however, that there is no true definition to what’s normal. Thoreau also removes himself from the society he’s always been a member of so he can present an outside perspective. Some may say that he isn’t truly isolated from society, for he did have visitors and it seems difficult to be completely isolated. Even if I were to lock myself away in my bedroom for a few weeks, yes I would still be in my home (society) but I would not be directly in contact with society so that I could still sit with my thoughts. Later on in the novel, Thoreau explains how his experiences of living in solitude may be in opposition to what “they say.” He recognizes that living in solitude near a pond would cause others to question his well-being, but he realizes by living alone he can view the peculiarities of human nature. In going through with his plan to live as a man of nature, he immediately can make observations that he would not have able to within society. In Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol,” the protagonist is forced to leave his current “life” and observe his surroundings through various moments in his life.  The scene where he sees himself in his “prime” is harshly contrasted to the potential fate of Scrooge. The fear that he feels is similar to the way Mrs. Dalloway often felt when she had to look back on her early years. Each of the books that we’ve read has its unique plot, but the authors all seem to be preaching a similar idea. Thoreau advises his readers to take action for their lives, warning against fate unfolding your life for you. It’s inspiring the reader to believe that there is nothing more powerful than the ability to influence your surroundings. We are given a blank journal, and it is up to us whether or not we fill this book with moral and significant chapters of our lives. The identity of the author changes with how their message is reflected in their works. They all deal with different “They says” but have their own “I say.” They give us what they believe, and we can either take it or leave. 


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