Professor Charles Hood
April 2, 2012
Putting Pictures To Words
Henry David Thoreau was a man of many talents. A writer, a philosopher, a naturalist, and the leading man of Transcendentalism, Thoreau was truly a genius of his time. His contributions to the world were extremely momentous, such as his role in Abolitionism or his famous work of literature Walden. But it is perhaps his insignificant work that draws us the most, the private everyday musings of his journal. Through descriptive writing, Thoreau manages to convey what he was seeing to us readers. His gift with words and imagery stand well on their own, but what if there could be ...view middle of the document...
“Tide Pools of the Mediterranean” (Bartrug, Hood Peyruis, page 38), meshes quite nicely with Thoreau’s Selections From The Journals, page six, “Undated, Long Island.” In both of these passages, the writers are describing a location. In Peyruis, the author is explaining the Mediterranean coast, and the things he notices there that most often go unnoticed. “Masses (5 species), cigarette butts (8-10 sizes types), beer bottles (2), wine bottles (2), guppy-minnow (1, green and tan, quick), pin-prick footprints of water striders, a jointed drinking straw, a drowned lizard, half a brick, blues (5-8 shades), greens (“ “), clears (infinite), one large quill shaft, primary feather of yellow-footed gull” (Bartrug, Hood Peyruis, page 38). What seem like quick notes of observation, are actually quite detailed. He lists types and amount, clearly wanting to paint a clear picture in his memory of this place. Thoreau is describing how the crewmen wait for the tide to come in, and how they pass their time during their idleness. He explains how one man looks for sharks and crabs, how the Dutchman wades out into the water hoping to catch a crab, and how the skipper strikes a clamshell into the sand to discover if the water is rising (Thoreau Selections From The Journals, page six). Both Hood’s and Bartrug and Thoreau’s respective writings can be used to enhance the other in this case, and would in fact make both writings better illustrated for the reader.
Thoreau wrote on October at seven p.m. 1857 “To Cliffs and Walden,” pages thirty-five to thirty-nine. He beautifully describes his surroundings in a meadow, such as “panicled Andromeda dark-red or crimson. Swamp-pink a dark reddish purple where exposed. Beach plum begins to turn a clear pale yellow in dry places. Sage willow is fairly yellowing and some even falling” (Thoreau Selection From The Journals, pages 35-36) Juxtaposing this with the illustration by Bruce Bartrug’s “Gorges Du Verdon” (Bartrug, Hood Peyruis, pages 20-21) one can see what Thoreau might have been seeing with his own eyes. Vast cliffs, gratuitous amounts of flora, and the leafy canopies of many trees…this represents Thoreau’s...