Discuss the symbolism in Thoreau's decision to retreat to walden pond on July 4th, 1845


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Thoreau's emphasis on the dawn in the second chapter continues the theme of rebirth established in the first chapter. In that chapter, he described a snake, left "torpid" by the cold of the winter and only gradually awakening as the weather thawed. That snake was a symbol for the "sleeping" men who are likewise unaware of their surroundings and immobile in combating the chains of routine and tradition. It is noteworthy that Thoreau begins building his house, the physical counterpart to his spiritual awakening, in the winter, and does not move into until summer, when nature and his spiritual self is in full life. Both here and in the first chapter, Thoreau appeals to Aurora, goddess of the dawn. The dawning of the day comes to be a metaphor for the dawning of spiritual enlightenment and self-knowledge.