Summary – Chapter Twelve ‘Brute Neighbors’
The first few paragraphs switch between references to being a ‘hermit’ and a ‘poet’. He moves on to discuss the mice in his house and how they are a ‘wild native kind’. Other creatures also become used to his presence, such as a robin and a partridge, and says one only has to sit still in the woods for long enough periods and the ‘inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns’. He also saw less peaceful scenes such as ants fighting (red against black) and thinks there are similarities with humans.
When a loon appears at the pond, ‘sportsmen’ appear in the woods. He describes how evasive it is and that it has an ‘unearthly laugh’
Analysis – Chapter Twelve
The examination of nature, and the wonders he sees in it, are referred to once more and in so doing he also implies the position humans have in the world is not so central as we may assume. When he points out that if one sits still in the woods the inhabitants will approach, we are also asked to learn to trust our fellow creatures. The example of the fighting ants balances this point as he also shows that ants, like humans and other species, are prone to fight and so refuses to be too naive in his interpretations.
Walden: Chapter 12