By Sinclair Lewis
A private hindrance jars a middle-aged actual property agent from his complacency during this satire of middle-class American existence. Sinclair Lewis' nice novel bargains a scathing portrait of the results of clinging to standard values.
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It is a thorough process, this war with the wilderness,—breaking nature, taming the soil, feeding it on oats. The civilized man regards the pine tree as his enemy. He will fell it and let in the light, grub it up and raise wheat or rye there. (1906 J 3:269-70) What begins as an apparently affirmative discussion of land-clearing suddenly shifts into an acerbic comment on civilized man's war against trees, the kind of turn one finds in "Chesuncook" and "The Allegash and East Branch," especially in their treatment of the effects of a voracious logging enterprise.
Boyhood friend to both Henry Thoreau and his brother, John, and frequent visitor to their home in those years, Hosmer much later recalled another visit, in 1845, when, at Thoreau's invitation, he spent a Sunday with him at the cabin at Walden Pond, a visit Hosmer remembered with obvious pleasure some thirty-five years after the fact. Hosmer's reminiscence of this visit is included in a memoir of Thoreau that he wrote in Chicago, where he had lived since 1857, where he had been remarkably successful by most standards, and where two of his sons had recently become millionaires.
It is natural that we should be enterprising," Thoreau noted in an enigmatic Journal entry in 1852 (1906 J 3:270). Walden features an enterprising narrator who concludes his narrative with a declaration that focuses the theme of "extra vagance" through economy while reminding readers of the theme's cultural connection: "I delight to come to my bearings, . . not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth C e n t u r y , . . to travel the only path I can, and that on which no power can resist me" (Walden, pp.