Summary – Chapter Thirteen ‘House-Warming’
He details how he gathered fruit and nuts, and did so in order that he had a sufficient rather than surplus amount. He also mentions the ground nut, which cultivation has almost done away with, but ‘was once the totem of an Indian tribe’.
The coming winter is referred to in his tolerance of wasps that came into his home. He then tells how he studied masonry when he came to build his chimney and points out that he used second-hand bricks.
He criticizes other houses where, when one visits, one only sees the parlor and this is usually far away from the kitchen and workshop. He goes on to describe how he plastered his fireplace and then shifts to discuss effect of the weather outside.
The first ice on the pond is mentioned and the bubbles that appear in it are described. As the winter set in, the geese were seen passing over to migrate to Mexico. He spent time collecting wood for his fire at this time and he says how remarkable it is that wood is still valued so highly and he too cannot do without it. This chapter ends with a poem about fire.
Analysis – Chapter Thirteen
The change in the weather is noted and this means that the narrative explores the importance of the elements on this self-sufficient life. By living so close to nature, he demonstrates the need to adapt but also illustrates how simple this is if one decides to be led by circumstances rather than trying to control them.
The references to the ground nut and how close it is to extinction are reminders that agriculture has almost taken over the land. Because of the colonizers, the older ways of life that were inimical to the Native Americans are seen to have almost been superseded.
Walden: Chapter 13