Summarizing Thoreau’s “Higher Laws”

     In being a part of nature, savagery which is normally frowned upon becomes a first instinct and the hunting of animals should not be pitied as the natural savage instincts of men drive them to kill. Thoreau uses the savage instincts the woods lit within himself to make the animals being hunted seem not as victims but a natural order through which even in nature men are not helpless but powerful creatures. The art of hunting is not inhumane but should instead be considered a right of passage through which men are made closer partners of nature. Thoreau uses his love for nature and other lovers of nature such as the people of the algonquin to not plead a case but show that hunting is not just the killing of animals but what one can call an initiation into nature. While one is immersed in the woods the importance of nature becomes apparent and some are able to mature even more spiritually. Hunting is then the practice of sharpening ones inane animal instincts and is not to be seen as cruel as once the individual returns to society they are more inclined to stay away from acts which are inhumane. This can be seen with Thoreau’s explanation of the governor and self is an example of hunters who have grown spiritually through hunting.


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