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Henry David Thoreau, a name heard endlessly by American Literature students, has contributed his outrageous views to society even after his death. Lectures and texts let his perceptions live on through teachers and professors that are all agreed on the significance of his writing to the transcendentalistic period. Definitely worth the merit he receives for his contributions, Henry Thoreau’s views are nonconformist and thought provoking. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away” (Thoreau, 14). Thoreau himself marched to a different drummer, and it is this aspect of all great men that set them apart from the average. Socrates, Newton, and Kepler all men who found popular belief not to be the only belief, became great because of it. Although Thoreau’s views are not recognized until later in life, they in fact were being sculpted during his earlier years, and his adulthood literary works were directly effected by his childhood. David Thoreau’s childhood was an unsettled one set in the early 1800’s. David Henry Thoreau being his birth name which he received on July 12, 1817 at his Grandmother Minott’s farm. Not until the age of twenty, when he was about to graduate Harvard, did he flip his first and middle name. Thoreau was born the youngest of three children; he had a much older sister Helen, an older brother John, and it wasn’t until the birth of his little sister Sophia that he became a middle child. His family was very poor, and his father’s various attempts at making a living left them much like nomads. It happened not to be until Henry was six that the family finally settled in Concord at the call of his father’s successful pencil-making business. The Thoreau family structure appears not to be so different from the normal of the time period. Der...

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