In the book Walden, it has many cases where it applies to how one should be more of them self rather than go along with society.
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Thoreau began his life at Walden, when the Industrial Revolution was in full force. Its impact upon life is best illustrated in Walden by the locomotive which passes daily by the pond, its whistles and rumbling contrasting with the natural sounds of the birds. Village life now runs at a faster pace, "railroad time," leaving even less time for the contemplation of self and nature which Thoreau desires. Such "progress" has a negative impact upon people's lives and upon the environment, the purity of which it pollutes and destroys. Thoreau was all about rediscovering the self in Nature's solitude away from a society that dulls the natural senses. You can find many of these ideas at the "themes" page of GradeSaver: