Summer Spent Frolicking in Fields

This might be a bit of cheating, but since I wasn’t able to find a place so soon, I picked a place I went to last summer.
Last summer, a few friends and I went to a nature trail to get out and walk around.
During the first part of this visit, we walked around the trails and made out way to the waterfall.
On our way there, I noticed all the scenery of the trees and rocks all around us.
The waterfall flowed seamlessly over the rocks around the trails.
It wasn’t a super big waterfall so we were able to walk around on the rocks by it and were able to pick up the huge sticks that were by it.
Since there wasn’t much else but the waterfall and the trails, we made our way to another nature trail about 5 minutes away.
For this one, it was just open fields filled will flowers.
The whole scenery was beautiful and the sky looked so pretty as there weren’t many clouds in the sky but just enough to give it a nice glow.
The flowers were very vibrant and lots of butterflies were around, flying by us and landing on the bright flowers.
Behind the field was another forest area surrounded by bright tress that really completed the scenery.
Over the tree behind the field, streaks of light can be seen shining down through the grey clouds.
The streaks of light gave the forest a better light and made it the center of attention in my eyes


Extremely late First Blog Assignment

Over the course of this semeseter, I have gained a greater understanding of many features on my computer.
There were many things that I honestly had no idea were a thing to do on a computer.
I didn’t realize that there were simplier ways to get around my computer or access certain things with just typing a code in.
Although it is still a bit confusing to me, the knowledge that I have learned thorughout this course will definetly help me in the future.
I can continue to practice everything that I have learned, and will because I think some of this stuff is pretty cool.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of this class when I first signed up for it.
To me, I thought it would be a simple class, learning more about my computer and the ways around it and it didn’t seem super interesting at first.
It was something to just fill a credit but as the semester went on, learning my way around my computer, that I have had for over 4 years, was actually pretty intresting.
Being taught how to get around your computer, see different ways to access files or change the way certain things look.
I always thought I had a decent enough understanding of my computer but after this class, I now realize that I was just scratching the surface.
Although I may not have a complete understanding of all the things my computer is able to do, I am now interested in broading my understanding on many other things.
This class sparked an interest in how to navagate my computer.
I feel like I cna use what I learned during other class work or just showing friends the cool things that you are able to do.
My confidence for using this knowledge is not super high, as I have struggled a bit but I am certain that I can work through it to continue the skills tought during this class.
There are many things that I am still stuggling with, like using Markdown, but I am very determined to continue trying to figure it out.
I wouldn’t say that I am very tech savy, I have a very basic understanding of how computers or phones work, but it’s always great to get more knowledge on the subject.

Civilization and Modernity: Thoreau’s Experience likened Universal

Griffin Fraser, Rachel Swihart, Mari Greaney, Izzy Covert, Cole Donley, and Syd Hollister


Thoreau’s changes in these passages reflect his changing opinions on how people fit into modern society. Thoreau’s changes, such as ‘man’ to ‘family’ and trying to decide whether to use the term ‘savage’ or ‘Indian’ when referring to Native American, in this section of text about property and the drawbacks of modernity, reflect his evolving beliefs about how certain groups of people fit into and interact with modern civilization.


One of the main challenges we faced in this project was locating all of the manuscript pages for the versions of 45a, b, c, d, and 46a and b. The only manuscript pages we were able to easily find using the manuscript search tool was version A for 45a, c, d, and 46a, and version B for 45b. In order to overcome this and actually see the changes in the manuscript leaves that were reflected in the fluid text, we had to find leaves that were fairly close in the versions we were looking for and combing the subsequent pages for words or phrases in the sections we were looking for. Using these methods, we were able to find all the manuscript leaves that reflected changes in the passages we chose.

Changes in the Manuscript

Throughout the passages of Walden our group was able to find many changes that Thoreau made from his first versions that he created, to version D. The passages we have decided to focus on are Economy 45 and 46.

Changes Between Version A and Version B

When looking at paragraph 45, the first thing we noticed is that version A is somewhat shorter than version B. In the beginning of the paragraph, he makes a few word changes. We think he changes man to family, which indicates that he understands that modernity and the property crisis does not only affect the ‘man of the house,’ or the ‘head of the household’ – it affects all of the townspeople. Thoreau seems to be focused mostly on making his writing more clear and concise, as well as trying to write in a way that more people would understand. He removes the personification of ‘Civilization’ – in version A, he refers to civilization as ‘her’ and allows it to have action, but changes the pronoun to ‘it’ and changes the sentence format of anything ‘civilization’ did to the passive voice, so there isn’t an active agent. In this novel, Thoreau seems to be contrasting nature versus civilization, and so this seems to reflect this. Nature is usually thought about in feminine terms – “mother nature,” while industry and civilization are usually referred to in a more masculine sense. In his first draft, he refers to civilization with feminine pronouns, which subverts expectations, but he changes it. This is probably to fit in with the expectations of his audience, as well as preserve the dichotomy of civilization versus nature. He seems to make many changes in version B but then has a lot of individual words and sentences striked through, implying that he was probably just cutting them out to make it shorter. We believe he changes his word use of Indians to savages because he wanted to imply a more negative connotation to these people. He explains the abode in much more detail in version B, followed by the line, “But how happens it that he who is said to enjoy these things is so commonly a poor civilized man, while the savage, who has them not, is rich as a savage?” We think this shows that he is not in favor of the savage. He is also creating a dichotomy between the ‘civilized man’ and ‘savage,’ which seemingly reflects his belief that Indigenous people aren’t within civilization, and instead are preserved outside of it. Again in 45d he switches the use of she to it making his work more gender neutral and accurate. He corrects his numbers from $1000 to $800 to make his writing more accurate for the time being. He makes no other major changes for the rest of the passage other than editing one sentence to shorten it down to just a word. In Version B of the same paragraph, Thoreau changes a few words in the initial first sentence such as “…will be perceived” to “…may be guessed”, we can assume this change was made to help the reader better understand Thoreau’s thinking on this topic as he may have assumed this statement rather than perceived it. Perhaps the biggest change to this paragraph however, is the addition of an entire new sentence that shows us some mildly contradicting ideas compared to the already existing first sentence: “But perhaps a man is not required to bury himself.” This sentence shows how he thinks that even though civilization may be unkind to the average person, we are ‘buried Why he may have added this is somewhat unclear, as we can assume it is to provide more context to the first sentence, it is hard to say that as these contradicting ideas make it clear that is not that case.

Changes Between Version B and Version C

From versions B to C, he adds 45b, in which he criticizes and includes renting in his discussion of property and homes.

46b Version C Manuscript

In this version, he also removes some text that he had interlined in pencil that seemingly is asking the poor to be happy with what they have instead of seeking to gain more. This may have been removed because, in the rest of the text, Thoreau seems to be really sympathetic to the poor, while this interlined sentence did not seem to be very sympathetic. He seems to think that the poor should fit better into civilization, though it is not easy for them to live within it, so removing the line shows that this belief of his still stands. . There is an added 45b section in version C that is as follows, “I do not mean to insist here on the disadvantage of hiring compared with owning, but it is evident that the savage owns his shelter because it costs so little, while the civilized man hires his commonly because he cannot afford to own it; nor can he, in the long run, any better afford to hire.” We think that he includes this as a clarification for his previous writing in the passage. He wants the reader to know why he addresses the topic in this way. This is also a continuation of the dichotomy he is working on building, of the ‘savage’ versus the civilized man. Thoreau also takes out two sentences towards the end of version B that talk about his opinion on owning an abode, saying that an owner should be content with what they have even if it is less. We think he omits this because he may have changed his mind or thinks it wasn’t necessary to include it as another point to make.

Changes Between Version C and Version D

The changes between Versions C and D is mainly to change some already changed words back to how they were in Version B, almost as though Thoreau looked at the changes he made for too long and hated what he wrote. Another significant change is the deletion of “…for even sickness is a beginning to die, and therefore every doctor’s bill is a funeral expense…”, maybe this was taken out in the case of there is too much information, or that Thoreau deemed it unnecessary. When it comes to Paragraph 46b, the entire thing was added in Version D and was not present before then.

Version D Economy 46

This addition talks about “the savage” and how they do not fit into the “civilized’ life of an institution. Thoreau does talk about how he feels that the disadvantaged “savages” have not made any sacrifices as compared to the “advantaged” peoples. This is a classic example of the “noble savage” trope – how indigenous people are constantly looked at as outside of civilization and closer to nature than those ‘civilized’ people who live in towns and villages. Of course, this trope is nothing more than disguised prejudice and ignores the centuries of advanced civilization of Native Americans, long before Europeans arrived on their shores. This trope also ignores the fact that indigenous people in modern times, including in Thoreau’s day, lived in towns and villages as well and are just as ‘civilized’ as anyone else. He is drawing on the past, which is a common occurrence when using the ‘noble savage’ trope, and ignoring that indigenous people, too, make advancements and innovations in the way they live and interact with wider society. This shows very clearly that Thoreau does not see Native people as living within civilization or even at all affected by civilization, which is just simply untrue.


Thoreau’s views on who fits in (and therefore, who doesn’t) color his whole narrative of trying to escape from civilization by going to Walden Pond. By drawing out those types of people whom he believes are impacted by modernity and civilization, he very much excludes groups of people that he believes are outside of civilization’s realm of influence. While modernity affected (and still affects) different groups in different ways, no one escapes unscathed and no one can fully avoid the consequences of industrialization and globalization. This gap between what Thoreau so clearly believes and what was the truth shows that Thoreau had a view of modernity that was very specific to his immediate circumstances, and didn’t consider people with different experiences than his. This shows that, though he liked to discuss civilization and modernity as universals, his descriptions of civilization and modernity only applied to a small portion of people in America, and was therefore a construct that he created in his writing.

210,000 miles and who knows how many sunsets, and counting

I spend a lot of my time driving back and forth to campus and to my friends’ houses and to the school I work at… I spend a lot of time in my car going from place to place across four different counties multiple times a week. While to some people it might be super tedious, I kind of enjoy it. I don’t really get any time to just sit in nature, so I enjoy what I can about what the world has to offer me while I have nowhere else to go. One of my most favorite things to note and notice across my many daily commutes are sunrises and sunsets; I find that I get to see the best ones as I’m in my car. It kind of makes me feel like the world says good morning and good night to me, and it reminds me to take a little bit of time to reflect and decompress for myself.

The best part of my drive has been getting to know every little corner of my route so well. While it does help to know where the cops like to sit so I can slow down and save myself and whoever’s behind me from getting a ticket, I take the time I have stuck behind a looooooong caravan of trucks to get to know all the little places. The most rewarding bit is being able to point them out to people when I travel that way with my family or friends (especially if for once I’m not driving); I worry that otherwise, they might be overlooked. I love to share that I dream about the beautiful colonial brick house off of 63 or that I feel my stomach drop like I’m on a roller coaster when I try to keep my car at 30 miles an hour going down the big hill into Wyoming when I go to Warsaw. All of these little details of what my life has become and what my new reality looks like have made me change my perspective; everything for me has always been so fast, so go-go-go all the time, and it doesn’t have to be. The beauty in the simple has made me more reflective, more caring, more sensitive, to everything that goes on. These tedious, expensive, long haul drives across Genesee and Livingston and Wyoming country (and Monroe every so often, if we’re feeling different) have given me no other choice but to realize just how lucky I am to have a life where I can be at peace and reflect on things from the comfort of my beat-up Civic.

These places that I pass by every day to go do mundane things are so special to me. My students, who come almost entirely from trades or farms and have known nothing else aside from life up here, ask me what I’m doing here if I have a place to go back in “the city”, to my parents’ house on Long Island. They ask me how I like it out here where there’s nothing but farms and trees and “dinky” little tiny towns every couple of miles. I tell them I like it just fine and I’m here to stay, thank you very much.


The Ponds Paragraph 1 – Walden

Shannon Corbett, Owen Vincent, Kera Gillette, Claire Wallace, Julia Demskie

Our group collaboratively chose to dive deep into “The Ponds”, Versions A-E, E-F, and F-the Princeton Edition while making revisions of Walden’s work within the paragraphs of the passage.

Between Versions A and E of this section of “The Ponds”, we see the emergence of part 1b as an added revision. There are many possible reasons why Thoreau may have made these varying revisions, and omitted and added certain sections. The examination of these revision choices tells us more about his composition process and the mindset he grappled with through the completion of Walden. Through the analysis of these revisions, my focus will be on looking through the lens of Thoreau and determining which themes and thought processes he may have been trying to convey through the addition and omission of varying lines. It is apparent throughout all of “The Ponds” that Thoreau is examining this complex relationship between humanity and the natural world. He grapples with the limitations of the human experience and how nature can find a place within that. The first revision that we see within this section is the readmission of section 1b which was originally present with the Princeton edition. I spent some time reflecting on why he may have taken this section out, as it was omitted through versions A, B, C, and D. My guess is that Thoreau was grappling with how the Huckleberry section would be perceived. He writes, “It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who never plucked them from the bushes” replacing “where they grew” with “the bushes” and “picked” to “plucked”. These minor revisions were likely for clarity, however, the re-addition of this section seems to harp on the inability of a person to truly taste or experience a piece of nature (in this case huckleberry) without experiencing the environment of its origin. He writes that the way to know the true flavor of a huckleberry would be to ask a “cowboy” or a person who understands the complexities of its beginnings. Thoreau may have omitted this section across previous parts because of its critical nature in condemning consumers for experiencing small glimpses of nature without fully understanding their beginnings. I don’t believe Thoreau intends to come off as critical and condemning to the consumer, but instead is trying to convey his views of intentional living and straying away from materialism. This may have been readded with the omission of the line “What are the huckleberries on the market? He that would know their flavor must taste them on the hill. Ask the huckleberry bird” in an attempt to make the theme of anti-materialism less harsh to the reader, while still getting his message across. This omitted line is reinforcing to the reader that without trying an organic substance in nature, you will never fully taste the beauty and complexities that lie within it. I believe this line was a good addition, and the removal of it slightly takes away from his overall message. He removes and adds several pieces that are present further within section 1b, crossing out the lines that discuss the “ambrosial part” of a fruit that contributes to its immortal taste but keeping the lines that depict this immortality as rubbed off in the market cart. He’s stating that once taken out of nature and moved into a commercial setting like a marketplace, this natural immortal quality is removed from the fruit. The final line added to this section talks about the reign of eternal justice and seems to have been added to contribute a final conclusion to this idea of nature vs the material.
Thoreau made few changes that are made to “The Ponds” paragraph 1 from Version E to Version F, but those that are made are significant. Some of such changes are made with the aim of shortening his prose. For instance, when describing the landscape that he explored in search of fresh huckleberries and blueberries, Thoreau deleted the words “and solitary swamps and meadows.” Likely this edit was made to avoid redundancy; he had described the area as “unfrequented” already in the passage, and referred to his isolation many times throughout the rest of the manuscript before this point. Therefore, cutting this part of the description was an easy way to shorten a wandering sentence. He also omits the pronoun “I,” presumably for a similar reason of shortening the sentence. Another example of edits for the sake of manageable length comes when the phrase “the ambrosial part of the fruit, that which feeds the genius. for every good fruit has its ambrosial part that which makes the taste immortal to a degree” is deleted from Version E. It is then replaced in Version F with only “the essential & ambrosial part of the fruit….” It’s possible that Thoreau omitted this section for the purpose of making the section shorter, but it is also particularly interesting that he replaced the entire description with only the word “ambrosial.”. The term specifically still captures his previous reference to the taste as “immortal,” as it still makes the connection to godly figures or deities.

HM 924 v1 n194

Thoreau also makes several edits that emphasize the main purpose of both this particular passage, and the larger work of Walden. For example, he asserts in Version E that “the fruits do not yield their true flavor to the mere purchaser of them….” In Version F, however, the word “mere” is left out. This could possibly be to avoid a tone that could be construed as condescending, which is a criticism he has often been subjected to in the reception of the book. By describing this audience this way, he could alienate readers, by making them believe that he views them as inferior. In suggesting that people should eat huckleberries straight from the bush as a way to connect to nature in its purest form, regarding the “purchaser(s)” he is advising in a neutral way may help Thoreau to get his message across more effectively. He prioritizes the moral of the passage once again with the addition of a final sentence. In Version E, “As long as Eternal Justice reigns not one innocent huckleberry can ever be transported thither from the country’s hills” is inlined in pen at the end of the passage. In Version F, it is included in the first version of the main body text. This sentence serves as a fitting conclusion to a paragraph whose main purpose is to convince the reader that eliminating the commercialization of natural commodities will enrich one’s experience of life and sensory inputs. Thoreau also makes revisions to specific words which serve to make the passage more succinct and effective. In one sentence, he changes “one way to obtain them” to “one way to obtain it,” altering the meaning of the sentence entirely. In Version E, the phrase suggests that there is only one way, or perhaps rather one correct way to acquire the huckleberries themselves. In Version F, however, Thoreau instead claims that there is only one way to experience the “true flavor” of the fruit that he refers to in the previous sentence. This is a significant difference, because it aligns more closely with his purpose for the passage as a whole. He means to say that, while one could technically purchase huckleberries at a market, they are much better when they are found and harvested naturally. A clear example of this type of revision exists later still in the passage. In Version E, the fifth sentence of the passage reads “It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who have never picked them…,” and then depicts “picked” being deleted, and “plucked” being added in its place in pencil. The word “plucked” is then what is seen included in the next reproduction of the sentence in Version F. Thoreau likely felt that “plucked” gave an image more accurate to the experience of picking the berries, or perhaps that it evoked more of a distinct image in the mind of the reader.

HM 924 v5 n714

When comparing the revisions of paragraph 1 in “The Ponds,” there are noticeable differences between Version F to the final published version. While the passage remains relatively stationary in size, there are certain lines that have been removed and tweaked by Thoreau to create his finished product. The first example is in the fourth line after the quotation, “to fresh woods and pastures new.” In Version F, he originally has an observation where he describes the unfrequented parts of the town, “and solitary swamps and meadows.” He removes the “I” at the next comma, and continues on, “made my summer of huckleberries and blueberries on Fair Haven Hill, and laid up a store for several days.” Here, he doesn’t add or change the wording of his sentences but rather removes certain descriptions and grammatical errors that do not seem necessary to the overall piece. It’s possible that Thoreau felt his sentence was getting too long, as it is a run-on sentence that went on for five lines, and the passage flows better without them. In the next few lines, there are similar revisions, where Walden removes words like “mere” and “how” and replaces the word “them” with “it.” These appear to be grammatical corrections that Thoreau does not change until he is writing and organizing the final copy. Later in the paragraph, there are much greater and more noticeable changes that Thoreau makes beginning with, “ If you would know the flavor of huckleberries, ask the cow-boy or the huckleberry bird partridge,” where he removes the words huckleberry bird. A partridge is already a kind of bird in itself, and by ‘huckleberry bird,’ Thoreau appeals to be referring to the birds that eat huckleberries, so including two words that are synonymous also falls into the category of grammatical corrections and an error of repetitiveness that Thoreau did not want to include. The next sentence has significant changes in which Thoreau removes about three lines of writing. In the both copies he writes, “It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who never plucked them,” however in Version F, he continued the sentence, “from the bushes,” he revised, “where they grew,” then removed again. “What are huckleberries on the market? He that would know their flavor must taste them on the hill. Ask the huckleberry bird.” Thoreau often says that he is rambling when he writes, and that may be a possible reason for why he decided to take out these few lines. He keeps referring back to the “huckleberry” in this paragraph and perhaps he felt his words were getting repetitive and by removing certain lines, he is eliminating redundancy. In his next line, he says that huckleberries haven’t grown in Boston, “since they disappeared from Beacon Hill last.” This line is then removed and replaced with, “since they grew on her three hills.” Here, Thoreau might have thought he was being too specific with the location, and he may have realized that huckleberries grew in other parts of Boston as well. He references the three prominent hills of Boston, known as Beacon Hill, Bunker Hill and the Blue Hills. In the next line where he describes the taste of a huckleberry, he says the “ambrosial” and adds, “essential” part of the fruit “is lost with the bloom which is rubbed off in the market cart, and they become mere provender.” Looking back at Version E, Thoreau only describes the fruit as ambrosial and then goes on to explain that it has a nearly “immortal” taste. Rather than ramble on about this, he sums up this sensory experience as “essential” to the huckleberry fruit. Finally, in the last sentence, “As long as Eternal Justice reigns not one innocent huckleberry can ever be transported thither from the country’s hills,” Thoreau removes the word “ever” in Version F as to produce his final copy in the Princeton Edition. This appears to be a final attempt at shortening the piece and making final corrections for the finished product. These edits highlight the fact that Thoreau was putting consideration into revising his work, as long and disarranged as it may appear to the readers.

HM 924 v6 n1052 recto
HM 924 v6 n1052 verso

Group Analysis Project of Ponds 5 in Walden

Abigail Axton, Eve Angelo, Madelyn Malgieri, Margaret Tepper, Kaitlynn Schweitzer, Katey DeMaria

It is evident, in much of Thoreau’s work with Walden, that he places great emphasis on revision; whether this be at the discretion of his editors, or simply shifting personal preference and style, it is not necessarily explicit, but our group found some comfort in knowing that established, acclaimed writers like Thoreau find error in their stories close to publishing, that not everything is perfected the first go-around, regardless of experience or prestige. For our project, we endeavored to compare Version D and E of our selected passage: “The Ponds,” paragraph 5. The most jarring discrepancy between the two manuscripts is, evidently, their opening lines—in Version D, it first reads as a simple, brief sentence: “a perennial spring in the midst of pine woods, without any visible inlet or outlet but by the clouds and by evaporations.”

>Version D: “a perennial spring…”

In Version E, however, we see the paragraph flourish, a small portion of Thoreau’s more extensive compositional process, saying instead “The scenery of Walden is on a very humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore; yet this pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular description. It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long and about a mile and three quarters in circumference, containing and contains sixty-one and a half acres; a perennial spring in the midst of pine woods, without any visible inlet or outlet but by the clouds or by evaporation.”

>Version E: “The scenery of Walden…”

How Thoreau adopts the phrase and expands it into a lengthy, imperative part of the novel is greatly compelling, providing groundwork for deeper inspection by inviting readers to engage with his process of drafting head-on, as the string of words evolves into a much more substantive piece of writing.

Much of Ponds 5 in Version E includes interlined words and sentences, and it is clear that this is the version where Thoreau did a lot of writing and rewriting. Sometime between late 1852 and 1853 Thoreau wrote a brand new paragraph to open Ponds 5, as previously mentioned, which does not change as much as the rest of Ponds over the years of his writing and rewriting. In Version E Thoreau strikes out his past claim that the surrounding hills are “from 50 to a hundred in one place perhaps 200 feet high” and interlines in that they are instead “generally from 50 to 75 feet high though in one place they rise to the height of about 150 feet.”

>Version D: “from 50 to a hundred…

Yet, he then rewrites the scientific claim in Version E again striking out his earlier researching interlining in pencil that the surrounding hills, “rise abruptly from the water & are from 40 to 80 feet high, though on the southwest & east they attain the height of about one hundred & fifty feet respectively within a quarter & ⅓ of a mile.”

>Version E: “from 40 to 80 feet…”

Thoreau seems to be always researching and finding new reliable information, whether that be himself or what he reads in books, to heighten the visual aspect of his writing so the viewer can see exactly what he sees. Thoreau is impeccable in that aspect.

Further into Ponds 5c, in Version D, Thoreau rewords the description of Walden when viewed at the top of a hill. The beginning of the sentence does not change, “viewed from a hill top it,”

>Version D: “viewed from a hill top it”

and then interlined in ink we can see that Thoreau adds, “reflects the color of the sky,” to go along with what he wrote before, “is blue in the depth.” As the sentence progresses Thoreau strikes out his first description saying, “& green in the shallows, or rather close to the shore, for there are no other shallows” and instead wrote, “but a vivid green near the shore.” Towards the end of the sentence, in Version D, Thoreau adds more substance, instead of just writing “but from a boat it is seen to be a uniform dark green,” he adds in ink: “but from a boat when the surface is calm it is seen to be a uniform dark green.” From this, we can conclude that Thoreau is always chasing after bettering his descriptive abilities and often fluffs up sentences in his revisions.

In his later Version E we can see Thoreau changing the opening of his sentences again while also rewriting the sentence format. Thoreau interlined a new sentence before his Version D “viewed from a hill top it” writing, “but near at hand, it is of a yellowish tint next to the shore, where you can see the sand” then changing the location of his “uniformed dark green” to take place in the later of this new sentence which states, “then a light green, gradually deepening to a uniform dark green in the body of the pond.” Then, we see Thoreau’s Version D stay similar when he keeps, “viewed from a hill top it reflects the color of the sky,” yet because he moved some of this sentence from Version D into different places in Version E Thoreau scratches the words, “is blue in the depths in” and changes the end of his sentence in Version E to say, “in some lights even from a hill top a vivid green next the shore”

>Version E: “viewed from a hill top…”

while also scratching his words in Version D, “but from a boat when the surface is calm it is seen to be of a uniform dark green” to not exist in the final version. Along the lines of Thoreau refining his descriptive words we can see in Version D that Thoreau writes, “It is of a vitreous greenish blue, as I remember it, like those patches of the winter sky seen through cloud vistas in the west before sundown”.

>Version D: “vitreous greenish blue…”

It is apparent to readers that, throughout versions, there is special care taken to detail specifically the different shades of green and blue the lake captures, whether it has a “green tint” or “yellowish tinge,” it is “dark green” or has a “cerulean” hue.

It is interesting to note, despite version variations, Thoreau’s continued repetition of “body” at the end of our selected paragraph; in both manuscripts, there is an overabundance of the word—firstly, he refers to the lake as a “body,” and goes on to say “How large a body of Walden”

>Version D: “body…”

then “the body of one bathing in,” and “the body of the pond”

>Version E: “body…”

and lastly, again, “the body of the bather.” The continued use of the word is interesting, in that it seems, in previous instances, Thoreau is intent on removing moments of reiteration—so why he continues to use a word countless times in the span of a few expressions appears enough cause for questioning; we presume that any other word wouldn’t provoke, with enough gravity, the picture he was attempting to produce—Thoreau likes to refer to Walden as a being, as a figure, so whether he means a body of water, or more generally, a body, as in an organism which houses other organisms, or a system of many living things, both images are easily fabricated and give space for a reader’s preference and imagination. His using “body” allows a certain involvement from the reader, to declare what Walden being a body means to them—and then the mentions of the body of the bather suggests a certain kind-of “meta-ness,” where there is a body in a body, two animate beings—the lake and a person—coinciding. Thoreau also adds, in version D, the line: “Such is the color of its iris,” implying that Walden’s color is, in a way, analogous to a human’s eye; his repeated personification of Walden creates an air of reality and physicality—we imagine the lake as an entity.

The process of comparing manuscripts D and E has not so much been labor-intensive as it has been a demanding process of trial-and-error. It can be confidently said that none of us have experienced a final exam like this before, and have never so closely examined the handwriting of a famed author, nor have we so precisely and deliberately read drafts of an excerpt of their text. As for the analysis portion of the assignment, we found great difficulty in deciphering Thoreau’s handwriting and working out which versions of the manuscript we wanted to center in our evaluation; there was some confusion over how exactly the project would operate—we weren’t certain whether or not we could inspect segments of Thoreau’s writing that did not have representation in any of the scanned documents. We knew we wanted to discuss paragraph 5, but first thought we could study Version E and G, until, after some clarification in our second week of composing the analysis, only then discovered that no digitized Version G represented our chosen passage. Having spent some time already studying Version G, it was disheartening to abandon some of our preexisting labor—that was until it was realized that much discussed with Version G could be applied to our newly improved project; we knew we still wanted to talk about Thoreau’s overarching “body” theme, and the color and size of Walden.

Speaking specifically to the process of finding pertinent portions of Walden in the digital library, there was some trouble in raking through the text and troubleshooting how to use the websites (such as the Digital Thoreau fluid text version of Walden and Digital Thoreau’s Walden manuscript project page) productively. For those of us who were designated to work on the slideshow, screenshotting the sections of the manuscript that were noted in the analysis was somewhat tedious—and the same for those of us who were dedicated to composing the IIIF URLs. Many natural hiccups accompanied the process of composing a valid TEI file; troubleshooting the presentation of the relevant parts of the manuscript and better understanding how to format and organize the coding were large, significant parts of the assignment—thus proving lengthy and rigorous. Though all tasks were divided equally between students—Kate and Maddy: the blog post and IIIF URLs—Margaret, Abigail, and Katey: the slideshow and manuscript—and Eve: all things TEI, there was much interchange between roles and individual contributions; tasks were not limited to peoples’ assigned groups. For instance, when needed, those working on the analysis aided those working on composing the slideshow by finding the excerpts of Walden that were discussed in the close reading, and too, those working on the slideshow aided those working on the analysis by bringing up previously neglected segments of the texts that might be worthwhile to consider in our examination. Ultimately, we fostered an environment of equality, and fulfilled our responsibilities wholeheartedly, prioritizing quality and communication as we aspired to produce the best project possible.

Where I Lived and What I Lived For: Paragraph 1 and 8

Nikolete Michalkow, Alice West, Allie Driesen, Cooper Fensterstock, Maddie Tavernier

When beginning the project, our group did not have trouble choosing a passage. After looking at multiple passages for a moment, our group landed on Where I Lived and What I Lived For.

Upon viewing the multiple drafts, our group found it intriguing to see the changes Thoreau made to the first paragraph. In versions D, E, F, G, and the Princeton final edition, the beginning paragraphs begin with “At a certain season of our lives, we are accustomed to considering every spot as the possible site of a house.” While this may not initially strike one as a fascinating paragraph, upon looking at the first versions, A, B, and C, it is interesting to see the stark changes Thoreau made throughout his editing process. Additionally, it perfectly sets up the rest of the writing throughout the piece.

While analyzing further, our group found that the first version, version A is strikingly different and about something else than the other versions. For instance, version A begins with, “When I first went to the pond to live, my house was unfinished, not being finished for winter and but merely a defense against the rain, without plastering or chimney…” Then, versions B and C are introduced with, “When I first took up my abode in the woods, my house was not finished for the winter, but was merely a defense against the rain, without plastering or chimney…” While the minor change is switching from him talking about a house on a pond to a house in the woods, it changes the entire perspective. Our group was uncertain of why he changed it; however, we do believe that it makes more sense for the readers to picture a house in the woods rather than on a pond due to the further details he goes into later in the piece.

His initial first paragraph in the first three versions turned into the eighth paragraph in the final versions. He made various alterations to the three versions before deciding to add several paragraphs before this paragraph began. The version before he changed everything, version C, introduces with, “When I first took up my abode in the woods, my house was not finished for the winter, but was merely a defense against the rain, without plastering or chimney, or much furniture, with walls of rough weather-stained boards and wide chinks, which made it cool at night, was itself an inspiring object, and reacted on me the builder.” Our group analyzed this quote and believed that, due to Thoreau not being protected from the natural aspects of nature, he formed an increasing connection to it. Throughout his writings about nature, it is crucial to note that he never complains about it but only reflects upon it. The nature around him, even the cold rain, makes him feel interconnected with nature.

Furthermore, our group felt that this passage as a beginning paragraph would be nearly too much for the reader to digest without knowing the context. Thus, Thoreau recognized this and provided the readers with much more context and information in the introduction paragraph so that, when reaching the section in paragraph eight, it would be much easier to understand and grasp.

A large portion of the piece is based on Thoreau imagining everywhere he could live, yet the thought of it is much more satisfying than an actual house or material goods. He talks about the plans and houses he could build; however, he decides against them because he believes the more fulfilling part is leaving things alone.
When reviewing and analyzing a text, our group paid close attention to detail. For instance, while studying versions D and E, Thoreau alters a little detail in the first few words of the starting sentence, creating a difference. In version D, the sentence starts with, “At some seasons of our lives.” Yet, in version E and the further versions after that, it begins with, “At a certain season of our lives.” While this is a minor difference, our group found that it changed the piece’s perspective by simply adjusting one word. To our group, Thoreau finally saw the direction in which this piece was going and decided to enunciate that decision. Changing the wording from some to certain alters an infirmity of the season that Thoreau then goes into explaining throughout the text.
This revision also follows the drastic change of taking the original first paragraph and making it the eighth one, emphasizing the direction Thoreau goes.

Following our group viewing the minor changes Thoreau made, we felt that the prominent alteration in the introduction paragraph was crucial to look at. Versions A, B, and C are repositioned in the eighth paragraph of the final version. In his first version, version A, he described many details that, without an introduction paragraph, feel intense for the reader. In the final version, Thoreau takes his time explaining the houses he imagined living in, yet is broad with his information and then presents more heavy details later. We agreed with Thoreau’s decision because the final version feels much more complete with information and follows the story of his imagination and the production of this piece.

Thoreau’s ability to create a story, combined with the detail of nature, was very fascinating to our group. After seeing how many drafts there were, it was surprising to see how many times it takes for a writer to feel final in their decisions and publish a piece. It was easy for our group to see the difficulties, complications, and evolutions Thoreau went through during this process of the piece. We feel that Thoreau’s vulnerability in showing his drafts and mistakes is admirable. Since most of our group is English or education majors, it made us feel seen. While writing, sometimes it can make writers feel discouraged because of the many drafts and alterations they have to go through. Yet, the visualization of Thoreau’s drafts made everyone feel more at ease, learning that everyone goes through drafts and mistakes, even Thoreau.

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Chapter 16 Paragraph 4

Regan Russell, Nia Jones, Victoria Slade, Serena Drobnack, Wrileigh Bacon
Finding a starting point for this project quickly became the first obstacle that our group encountered. Each chapter of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden has unique paragraphs and changes that would work for this project, so picking just one was a difficult task. Originally our group picked Chapter 16 paragraph 13 and began analyzing and transcribing lines.This paragraph interested us because of the lines “What I have observed of the pond is no less true in ethics. It is the law of average. Such a rule of the two diameters not only guides us toward the sun in the system and the heart in man, but draw lines through the length and breadth of the aggregate of a man’s particular daily behaviors and waves of life into his coves and inlets, and where they intersect will be the height or depth of his character. Perhaps we need only to know how his shores trend and his adjacent country or circumstances, to infer his depth and concealed bottom.” As we began to work on the project we searched for images to utilize for the slides, but quickly realized that the necessary pictures were not available. We had chosen a paragraph that did not have pictures of different versions, we only had one picture to use. This was a large setback for the group, as it meant that we had to restart our entire project and pick a new paragraph to analyze.

Since we had already spent time analyzing Chapter 16 we chose to select a new paragraph within the same chapter. Our newly chosen paragraph was paragraph 4. This paragraph read as “When I strolled around the pond in misty weather I was sometimes amused by the primitive mode which some ruder fisherman had adopted. He would perhaps have placed alder branches over the narrow holes in the ice, which were four or five rods apart and an equal distance from the shore, and having fastened the end of the line to a stick to prevent its being pulled through, have passed the slack line over a twig of the alder, a foot or more above the ice, and tied a dry oak leaf to it, which, being pulled down, would show when he had a bite. These alders loomed through the mist at regular intervals as you walked half way round the pond.” To avoid another roadblock, our first step with the new paragraph was to locate photographs of the paragraph and make sure there were multiple versions available. We were able to find manuscript images of both version F and version G. While these images may be hard to read, the visible changes are still present.

Changes between these two versions are quickly seen, as the very first word in the paragraph changes between versions. Version F begins the paragraph with “Frequently when” but then all following versions begin with “When I”. This change could have been made to remove a limitation that comes with the word “frequently”, with the inclusion of the word the reader interprets that there is a limit or set number of times that the following action has occurred. Thoreau does not want to limit the reader’s interpretation of his words, so he does not disclose to the reader how many times he has strolled around the pond.

Pond in Winter Paragraph 4 Version F

Another significant change between versions is seen in the second sentence of the paragraph between version G and the Princeton version. Version G begins as “He would perhaps have placed an alder branch Over the narrow holes in the ice, which are which were four or 5 rods apart, and an equal distance from the shore, he would perhaps have placed an alder branch” and the Princeton version begins with “ He would perhaps have placed alder branches over the narrow holes in the ice, which were four or five rods apart and an equal distance from the shore,” Even at a glance it is clear that many changes have been made to the beginning of this sentence, as the Princeton version is visually quite shorter than version G. Version G uses words that are associated with the present tense such as “which are” and “he would”, both of these phrases are not featured in the Princeton version. The entire sentence is altered to in the past tense in the Princeton version, now using phrases such as “which were” and eliminating the phrase “he would”. This change to the past tense is an intentional move by Thoreau, the changes portray the nostalgic and daydreaming nature of his thoughts. The sentence is a description of a fisherman ice fishing that he may have seen while strolling by the pond. He does not participate in the fishing of the pond, just watching from afar and taking note of his process. Making this description occur entirely in the past tense shows the reader the extent to which Thoreau appreciates nature and eliminates the idea that Thoreau wishes to participate in the act.

Pond in Winter Paragrah 4 Version G

The paragraph that we chose to analyze truly showed a personal side of Throreau and showcased a small part of his personality. This interested us because it allows for the text to become relatable. While we were searching for a paragraph we read aloud numerous paragraphs that were hard to decipher. Some paragraphs appeared so complex on the surface that time would have been devoted analyzing the content, leaving no time to analyze the changes and choices that Thoreau made. Our chosen paragraph contained a level of complexity that we were able to decipher quickly and analyze the meaning while still leaving ample time to discuss the changes and choices made by him.

Thoreau’s intense appreciation for nature is shown through the way he describes the fisherman’s actions and the absence of his desire to participate in that activity and similar activities. This is part of the reason that our group gravitated toward this paragraph after our initial paragraph fell through. The initial pull to this paragraph came from the number of visible changes and words crossed off in between versions. But as we read through and discussed the contents of the paragraph we realized that this paragraph was an excellent example of intentional changes made by Thoreau to portray his internal thoughts and the overall message that he intended to send to the reader. His changes in this paragraph also portray his desire for some interpretation to be up to the reader. Thoreau makes many intentional points, but at times it is up to the reader to decide what he meant and decipher meanings from stories that can correlate to their own lives. Though we are all college students who may not be surrounded by nature daily, we all could find some piece of Walden that resonates with us and could be seen in our lives. The analysis of Walden and spending much time with paragraph 4 in chapter 16 has increased our understanding of Thoreau and his narrative choices throughout the text.

Can I please stop fearing this whole coding thing?

I think that the biggest “concrete” skill that I’ve gained so far is a meager level of comfort in playing with code. Before this class, I only really messed with “code” in the sense of modding games and sometimes messing with “inspect element” in Chrome just for fun, but that was never really something that I did intentionally. There are a lot of rules and specific ways to write things that was really intimidating to me. I am much more comfortable with this now, especially from having to do the daily journals, even though I frequent the course page to circle back and double check myself.

One of the most important things to me that I’ve garnered from this course ties into what I said above: I feel like I’m much less “scared” of my computer now. I feel a little bit less like I’m blindly trudging through stuff when I try to move files around or download something. I also feel a little bit silly with how much is automated for me when I try to do something as easy as open a Google doc or something- it was so much more complicated and involved on older computers to do literally anything. It gives me some perspective and even makes me feel a little bit bad when I’m impatient with my parents for trying to figure out technology that is second nature to me.

Not that I didn’t really see it before, but I also have a newfound appreciation for people who transcribe and digitize archives. Those people do not get paid ANYWHERE near enough money for what they do. I rely heavily on Gutenberg and JSTOR for both research and fun reading, and without those transcriptions of text I wouldn’t be able to access so many things that I both need and enjoy. I’ve been using Gutenberg since I had a nook tablet back in 2013 and I have remained a loyal user now through my Kindle, and I recommend it to EVERYONE. This class has made me pay closer attention to translation/transcription differences (as well as how each re-reading feels to me) I’ve seen between different versions and modalities of texts I’ve read- for example, I read the Prime Digital Classics version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paradise” in the airport over the holidays, and then read it on Gutenberg and in a pdf scan of the original book for a class. I honestly preferred the Kindle version, but for the sake of page numbers I used the scanned one and for the sake of copying and pasting for quotes I used the Gutenberg version. Each modality of the text has its strengths and weaknesses.

Spring, Suddenly

For as long as I can remember, spring has always had a way of sneaking up on me, no matter how anxiously I await it. Somewhere along the line, while I’m too busy hoping for the days when I can step outside and be met with a warm breeze instead of frosted grasses, everything begins to bloom seemingly overnight. And so suddenly, the spring I waited for is upon me now, and the pink budded trees shower me with their petals as I move through my days.This spring’s arrival is not exception; I was shocked when the sweet scent of all thr flowering plants passed me by. My eyes followed its upward waft to see sun soak, saturated colors all around me where the grey of winter once made its home. Instead of usual cloud covered skies and grey bark, I saw a blue horizon and flickers of green leaves.

It’s easy, while in the heart of winter, to believe that the harshest season will last forever. How, in this same place which was once so barren, can life be so apparent, so unabashed, so loud mere weeks later? But year after year, spring persists. If you look for it, you begin to see signs of old seasons, even at the height of new ones. The seeds of April fall over the remaining brown, dried leaves of November, just as the moisture from long ago melted February snow will nourish the sweetest of July’s homegrown tomatoes. The seasons work, as all of nature does, in perfect balance; the whole world sings in perfect harmony.

I wonder, as I watch a bushy tailed squirrel climb the same tree where a firey red cardinal is perched, if the animals can hear nature’s song as I do now. Do they know their roles, how they carry seeds and help new things grow? Do they learn their place in it all as I do now, or are they born with a certainty I have never known?

I hope one day the seasons no longer sneak up on me as they do now. I hope I begin to recognize the way the cold, wet days of March give way to the pollen of spring and the chilled nights of early September make space for golden autumns. Maybe even more than this, I hope I master the ability to let each season be what it is. Instead of wishing away the stiff heat of summer, or complaining that winter’s bitter cold is lingering for longer than I can bear, I hope I can continue to remind myself that each season has a song, perfectly composed, that blends into one another like one long, cyclical piece of music, if only you decide to stop and listen.