Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
This chapter is one of the more important chapters in Walden, for it looks to the future and gives sound advice. At first, Thoreau seems merely to be narrating a simple event in his life on the pond- the sowing of beans and the harvest of a crop. He carefully describes the clearing of the weeds from the bean field, the choice of the proper seed, the hoeing of the rows for planting and the cultivation and care of the bean plants. Each step becomes symbolic of what mankind must do to find truly himself and properly prepare for the future. Just as Thoreau had to remove the weeds from the field, man needs to rid himself of vices. He then needs to choose the proper seeds of virtue to sow in a mind that has been prepared for growth, just as Thoreau prepared the field to plant the carefully selected bean seeds. If properly cared for and cultivated, the seeds of virtue will yield a crop of moral reform in society, preparing a better life for future generations.