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Truman is pretty happy at the beginning of the film. He happily lives in a small, peaceful town called Seahaven. He has good job, a nice wife....The quiet desperation comes in because he wants for nothing. Everything is neat, packaged and sanitized . I think Thoreau's quiet desperation comes in the fact that he really isn't living deliberately. He isn't "sucking the marrow" out of life. His life is an illusion, literally! The metaphor can be made to our own lives when we fall into a comfortable yet mind numbing existence. We don't live deliberately but rather through smartphones, Facebook, and "reality shows" like the movie's title.