Thoreau's technique in most of Walden is to tease symbolic and personal meaning out of the facts of nature (not to mention to tease the reader in many ways).
Reading Questions (2) on Walden
What does Walden Pond look like physically?
What sort of meanings are suggested by the various natural "facts"that he gives about the pond?
What happens in the battle of the ants (p. 1483) and what truths about humans does it suggest? What truth emerges from his story about his chasing the loon on the pond? (p. 1486)
What is the point of his tale about the Irishman, John Field?
What is his attitude toward hunting and fishing?
How does the Puritan conflict between body and soul show up in "Higher Laws"?
Compare John Farmer and John Field.
How does Thoreau use the seasons as symbol?
What ideas are suggested by the facts of the pond in winter and spring?
Are these compatible with the kind of symbolic meanings he finds in the pond in "The Ponds"?
Why did Thoreau bother to write Walden?
Would you say that his experiment succeeded or failed for him? for you?
What do you think he learned? Did he fail to prove something he set out to demonstrate?
Why did he leave?
Interpret the stories of the artist of Kouroo and the bug in the appletree wood table as keys to the meaning of Walden.