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06/11/2012

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Samuel Sutton

I find it interesting that Sartwell is trying to associate himself with Henry David Thoreau by associating himself with Wal Mart. It seems as if he is trying to show that Wal Mart's stance toward the government and unions gives him the right to associate them with such a historical figure who was known for disliking the government and the corruption found within it. He seems to be attempting to advertise for Wal Mart by creating the association between himself and Thoreau. He is stating that Thoreau, were he still alive, would be perfectly willing to associate himself with Wal Mart by happily shopping there. However, the use of Thoreau seems to be rather inappropriate. Thoreau was known as a whistleblower who stood against governmental corruption and the government's habit of rolling over the rights of the people. Wal Mart is a company that is continually under scrutiny for charges of rolling over the rights of their own employees and bullying any who even attempt to join a union. Such actions go against everything that Thoreau believed in, which makes it highly unlikely that he would support Wal Mart if he were still alive. It is more likely that he would do everything in his power to make Wal Mart's actions public, and demand that the people do something as a whole to stop it from carrying out what he would likely label as corrupt practices. Furthermore, Thoreau would probably be irritated at Sartwell's attempt at comparing Walden Pond to Wal Mart. The pond would have been a place used by Thoreau to have some time along where he could find peace and quiet. Wal Mart is a large store filled with a numerous amount of people and a chaotic amount of noise. Thoreau would more than likely feel insulted by Sartwell's use of his name and favorite place.

Jorge Amar

In response to Samuel Sutton: Crispin Sartwell associates himself as a Thoreauvian philosopher in the same way that a transcendentalist isolates himself in the woods attempting to “front” nature. I do not believe that Sartwell was trying to say he was a transcendentalist as was Thoreau but he showed that they shared similar characteristics. Sartwell attempts to parallel some of Thoreau’s habits into his own life using Wal-Mart as an example. To understand what Sartwell is doing one must understand the core beliefs of a Thoreauvian philosopher. Thoreau, a transcendentalist, believed that one must learn to be self-reliant and independent from social institutions and become one with the environment. From this description, one can see that Sartwell’s principles are similar in that he is isolated and interacts with the environment (Wal-Mart.) Sartwell compares Wal-Mart to the Walden Pond in Concord where Thoreau would meet his friends. For example, he explains how Thoreau would take walks in nature to observe and reflect on it. Similarly, Sartwell compares himself taking a stroll to Wal-Mart where he could stroll and observe his “nature.” The association here is that both Thoreau and Sartwell observed their own “nature” and although their environments were not the same, their actions were. Sartwell summarizes his main point in the last sentence when he states, “Yet Thoreau and I commune, more or less the same way that Greg and I do, across space and time. And that’s how I can assure you that, if Thoreau were around today, he’d be pushing a cart through a Wal-Mart three miles from Walden Pond with a bag of socks, a gallon of milk and a Blu-ray player, nodding pleasantly at people he sort of recognizes.” Sartwell is saying that just like any other person out there, he is getting across life “across space and time” suggesting that regardless of the underlying meaning and sentiments of our actions, the action is still the same. In today’s time, Thoreau would have no choice but to conform to his environment, which now consists of industrialized and urbanized areas as Sartwell implies.

Matthew Dixon

To start off, I agree with Samuel Sutton’s statement about the interesting association amongst Sartwell, Wal-Mart, and Henry Thoreau. However, I believe that the comparison between Concord and Wal-Mart was indeed appropriate. More importantly, the now-and-then social interaction of close friends within a small community is extremely valuable. It is only in human nature in which people like to associate with others but also have their “alone time” because people can be annoying and sometimes, people need a break from each other. As Sartwell states that Concord is indeed no Wal-Mart, as a transcendentalist, the idea that Wal-Mart can be a natural place in which social interaction can take place is very plausible. It benefits Sartwell because all he receives is the satisfaction of hearing more about Greg’s life and not being burdened by anything. Wal-Mart may not be a suitable place for some people to associate amongst each other, but most people have a favorite, or routine, place in which they do associate. I believe that Sartwell was making a simple comparison that makes more sense being the world as it is today. People associate in their own ways and it is no doubt that there are more than several opinions, including Wal-Mart. In addition, being that Wal-Mart was the social vibe of that small town, the important thing is that the store is what brings several people together and that having very close friends within a community is important and to be within the environment that many people live in today’s society. I agree with Sartwell’s Thoreavian example of how people should live and think that it is beneficial for people to associate with several people to know more about their lives to become involved in the nature in which people abide by in reality. In the time we live in now it is only by nature that people associate amongst each other and develop a tight group of people that are close and trustworthy while being independent and self-reliable.

Dunia Valladares

I agree with Jorge Amar’s statement that Sartwell’s usage of Thoreau is more than appropriate. Sartwell describes the naturalness of shopping at a Wal-Mart with the conversation that is exchanged between himself and Greg. The conversation is Sartwell’s approach to compare the naturalness of shopping at Wal-Mart and everyday life. Sartwell uses this typical scenario at Wal-Mart in order to allow others to understand Thoreau’s philosophy of life with a situation that many individuals can relate to. Thoreau’s sanctuary was the Walden’s Pond, and occasionally Thoreau would interact with his community. The genuine but unattached conversation Sartwell has with Greg in Wal-Mart, supports Thoreau and how he chose to live his life. This is shown with the relatable story Sartwell shares and what each variable represents. Wal-Mart symbolizes the unfair and corrupt government that only a few individuals acknowledge and the rest ignore. Wal-Mart is continuously fighting allegations about the unjust and immoral actions towards employees. There are only a few individuals who acknowledge their unjust behavior and who are courageous enough to fight against them. Shopping at Wal-Mart is the Walden Pond. Shopping at Wal-Mart has become a routine in many people’s lives and can even be considered “natural.” Wal-Mart has become a place where an individual can have time for themselves. Lastly, the simple and genuine conversation with Greg is the occasional interaction that Thoreau feels is necessary with other individuals, but not in excess. Sartwell’s story is a very simplified version of Thoreau’s view of life. Due to this, I do not feel that Sartwell’s usage of Thoreau was to prove that Thoreau would or would not support Wal-Mart, but rather to prove that Thoreau’s views continue to be seen today. Sartwell concludes his article by stating that if Thoreau were alive today he too would shop at Wal-Mart.
Thoreau would shop at Wal-Mart because it is just the smaller version of the world that Thoreau lived in and we continue to live in today.

Emily Strong

Sartwell claims that Wal-Mart is an environment. He defines this environment as a place where one feels comfortable enough to share thoughts and feelings with those acquaintances around him. He uses the criteria of social and cultural forces. These forces help shape the lives of people around the world all the time. Yes, I agree with his assessment because you wouldn’t be the person you are without the environment you grew up in.
I have relationships like the one described by Sartwell with a couple of classmates. I graduated a year after these girls, and usually don’t get to see them much. Normally when we see each other, we discuss school, boyfriends, family, and the latest drama we’ve heard after graduation. My experience is the same because it normally happens in a common public place, is usually unplanned, and is over all very genuine and sincere. It is different in the aspect of my relationship with this classmate. We used to be really close, but after she graduated and I graduated a year later, it was hard to get together. We catch up, normally at Wal-Mart, and then we continue on our ways. Then in a couple months we will see each other again and the process repeats its self.
A conversation between Karen Olsson and Crispin Sartwell would be an interesting one to listen too. Olsson would mainly focus on how the employee’s are treated and how it’s inhumane to let people treat each other that way. She would also focus on the wage; the amount of people that work for Wal-Mart, and the way the wage affects all of those people. I feel that Sartwell isn’t looking at Wal-Mart in the same context as Olsson is. He looks at it as a social place to do your shopping and occasionally run into someone you haven’t seen in a while. They would agree that treating the employee’s the way they are treated is wrong, but they would disagree on the reason one would go to Wal-Mart.
Yes, Wal-Mart has obligations to its surrounding communities. I feel that Wal-Mart has the obligation to its surrounding communities to always have low prices. It also has the obligation to provide jobs to those people in immediate areas.

deplayimmuple

You'll find undoubtedly a great deal of details like that to take into consideration. That's an incredible point to bring up. I give the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly you can find questions like the one you bring up where probably the most essential thing might be working in honest great faith. I don?t know if very best practices have emerged about things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls really feel the impact of just a moment's pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

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Luis Uraga

In “My Walden, My Walmart” by Crispin Sartwell, Startwell argues that even though people want to and like to be alone, people still need to be socially active with other people. In order to have a way of communicating with other people, Startwell will shop at a Wal-Mart that is close by to where he lives. Startwell claims that the Wal-Mart that he goes to in order to find company is his Walden. Even though Startwell is a Thoreauvian philosopher, he still claims that he needs the companionship of another person to be happy. I believe that living off less is important to the environment, but people should not be an outcast and not interact with another person. Because Startwell isolated himself in the middle of the woods, he was not able to have interactions with other people. His body knew that there was something missing, and he knew what that missing feeling was. Startwell chose to go to Wal-Mart to shop because he knew that all of his Walden’s were not too far away from one. He feels close to nature when he is at the Wal-Mart because he meets a friend and socializes with him. I feel that Startwell felt that the Wal-Mart was his Walden because it is part of human’s nature to be around other people. Being isolated from civilization deprives people from having contact with other people. We, as humans, need to interact with other people because it is in our nature to be affiliated with others. Startwell felt more alive and like a human when he went to the Wal-Mart so he can socialize with his friend Greg. Everyone has their own opinion of what their own Walden is. The purpose of living is not to be separated from another human being, but finding a Walden where someone can make himself or herself feel like a human and close to nature as humanly possible.

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