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HONR.3300: Reflective Writing and Walking the Path of Thoreau


Interior of Thoreaus Cabin, bed, table, chairs
Reconstruction of the Interior of Thoreau's Cabin 
Photo by Namlhots                   CC BY SA

Three chairs - "one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society".

Welcome to Special Topic in Honors: Thoreau,
From taking a walk to taking a stand

Careful reading of Thoreau will teach us that he relied upon a few fundamentals to arrive at his philosophy and his writing:

❖ Questioning, questioning, questioning
❖ Practicing simple living
❖ Walking
❖ Taking field notes

❖ Journaling

❖ Drafting multiple versions of his lectures and essays.

In this course, we will carefully consider these practices as we engage in reflective



A Word about what you’ll be reading and writing

The texts we will create this semester will run the gamut from short to long, graded to ungraded, informal to formal, and private to public, solitary to collaborative. Each of these texts will serve as a means through which you can develop your own opinions, beliefs, and thoughts about the natural world and environment. Likewise, some of the “public” texts you create may help to shape the ways that various audiences think about and understand the world around them.

The environment is more than just the great outdoors. It is also a product of the discourse surrounding it. In other words, the environment—and what we think, say, and do concerning it—is influenced by what other groups and individuals have written or said about it. Environmental debates are shaped by more than simply “the facts” surrounding environmental issues; they are also shaped by the persuasive tactics and stylistic choices writers and speakers make. We will spend our time this semester analyzing Thoreau’s rhetorical choices in both his private and public writing in order that we might understand his philosophy and deliberately choose techniques for our own writing about place and environment.