Thoreau's Journal: 16-Feb-1859

What we call wildness is a civilization other than our own. The hen-hawk shuns the farmer, but it seeks the friendly shelter and support of the pine. It will not consent to walk in the barn-yard, but it loves to soar above the clouds. It has its own way and is beautiful, when we would fain subject it to our will. So any surpassing work of art is strange and wild to the mass of men, as genius itself. No hawk that soars and steals our poultry is wilder than genius, and none is more persecuted or above persecution. It can never be poet laureate, to say “Pretty Poll” and “Polly want a cracker.”

1 comment:

Emily Stubbs said...

This passage really makes me curious about Thoreau's personal religious beliefs. The things that he struggles with are many of the things that I find myself struggling with. You know, who is to declare what is wild? Thoreau is in the wilderness and he faces many accusations that he, himself, is "wild." I think he constantly struggles wtih trying to justify himself. He wants to allow people to see things from his perspective. What is wild is that same as fashion: we all have our own style and we our style is what looks good.