Expository Walden

March 11, 2017 General Studies

The chapter, Brute Neighbors, can be deceiving if one attempts to guess what it is about without reading it. It is a clever title because it is meant to be deceiving to the reader. The title has the reader believe that Thoreau is going to talk about his neighbors that are likely to be human. This is not the case however. The term brute means a brutal, insensitive, or crude person. However it also means a non human creature, or beast. In a way this is a hint as to what the chapter is about, although it can go by either meaning of the word. Thoreau??™s neighbors were interesting to say the least.
Thoreau, while living at Walden Pond, considers his neighbor to be the animals that live in his cabin and the woods that surround him. One of his neighbors is the mice that inhabit his cabin. In this chapter, Thoreau goes as far as to describing one of the mice that takes a bit of cheese from his fingers. He sent one of the mice a distinguished naturalist because the mouse was not a native kind found in his village. The naturalist was very interested in the mouse sent to him. Thoreau encounters many birds as well, such as a phoebe, a robin and a partridge. The Phoebe lived in his shed, the robin lived in a pine that grew against his cabin for protection, and the partridge led her brood past his windows to the front of his house. He was surprised by the partridge because those birds are particularly shy. Thoreau called these birds his hens and chickens because they lived by his home.
Thoreau is struck by how some of the animals live hidden in the woods. He less than frequently witnesses these animals because of their ability to live secretly in the woods. Thoreau is impressed with the otter. The otter impresses him by how it grows to be about the size of a young boy but most humans don??™t get a glimpse of the otter as it grows. The raccoon is an animal that strikes Thoreau with its ability to live hidden in the woods and while being around society unnoticed at times. Thoreau does have time to himself as well. Thoreau digs a makeshift well about a half-mile from his cabin. He often goes there to rest in the shade for about an hour or two. He goes after his morning work to eat lunch, gather water and to read. It is there where he encounters more birds, the woodcock and turtledoves.
Thoreau deals mostly with animals in this chapter, however he does notice an insect. On one occasion, notices a large black ant battling a smaller red ant. As Thoreau examines the situation between the ants further, he realizes this is a battle that is part of a conflict between the black and the red ants. The red ants army is twice the number of the black ants, but are half the size of them. Thoreau thinks about how this resembles human wars and realizes that ants are similar to humans in the way that they are fierce in battle as humans are. To observe further, Thoreau takes a wood chip and places it in a glass to observe the ants in their war against each other. After seeing the ants attack each other, he releases the remaining ant into the wilderness. After his encounter with the ants, Thoreau talks about the cats in the woods. The cats are quite comfortable in the woods, but grow wild as he is too close to them. Thoreau remembers hearing about a ???winged cat??? owned by someone who lived by the pond a year before he lived there. He was given the ???wings??? of the cat and he kept it as he lived by the pond.
The chapter, Brute Neighbors, mainly talks about Thoreau??™s encounters with the animals that live in the woods by his cabin. Thoreau talks about the mice that share the cabin with him and the birds that build their own homes by his home. He reveals his interest in the animals that live secretly in the woods and pond, living unnoticed by humans. He describes his own resting area, which is where he eats, reads and gathers water. Thoreau shows his fascination with the ants and how similar they are to humans when it comes to war and how he remembers the ???winged cat???, although he never saw the animal himself. Thoreau does a fantastic job of explaining the animals and how they live by him as if they truly are neighbors.


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