Henry David Thoreau writes "Walden" with the intention of arousing emotion and making his fellow men and readers aware of themselves and the world that surrounds them. He wants to reach us on a number of different levels. He wants to reach his readers on a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual level. He wants to wake up his fellow readers and ignite their consciousness. He does this by focusing on trends and beliefs that he finds in Concord in his time, that ironically are very telling of our time.
Thoreau focuses on the mainstream idea of the "American Dream" and openly criticizes it and its impact on society. Thoreau tells us that the less we have the better off we will be. He tells the audience that wealth only hinders one as a person because it traps that person into a sort of inverse ownership. For example, he begins talking about shelter. Thoreau recognizes that a person needs shelter and so they must seek a shelter that requires the least amount of work and time, so that you leave yourself time for other things like reading, thinking, or doing whatever it is that makes you happy. In one statement Thoreau says "Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have." Henry David makes a point of laying before his readers several levels that he wants his readers to think about. These levels include intellectual, spiritual, and emotional levels. In dealing with the intellectual level, Thoreau talks about how he economizes his time so that he has plenty of it to spend on thinking and writing. The spiritual level does not concern God really, but rather making a connection with oneself and the physical world around that person, whether it is with human interaction or with Nature. The emotional level Thoreau talks about deals mostly with coming to terms with oneself and believing in oneself and really doing what it takes to make one happy.