In walden henry david thoreau is attempting to find a purpose to his life by going out into the woods. what does he thihnk he will be able to find alone in the woods that he can not find in a city? thoreau has realized that much of the hustle and bustle of ordinary life is contrived by society. we regulate our lifes by the minutes sometimes even seconds. the fragementation of time is a human invention. humans live trapped in this imaginary cage they have constructed to chain themselves in. they look to clock to see what they should be doing. also thoreau realizes that in our current society people produce an excess to their basic needs. this excess is primarly squander on petty comforts and meaningless vain destraction. this excess is not put towards anything useful. it does not better either the indivaul or the society. so why do people work so hard to attain it? thoreau's answers is that their present society is fundementaly flawed. so to escape its evils he must leave the society. if he has to leave the society where else can he go but the wilderness.
So if thoreau is really trying to leave society why does he buy things from a store? why do his friends come to visit him? why does he write a book to published in society? these do not seem like the actions of man who wants to leave society. the answer to this question starts with the fact that he is not mearly interested in self improvement. thoreau would not be content with going into the woods living his ideal life and dieing if it had no effect on the outside world. thoreau wants a comunal awakening. thoreau wants all his neighbors to live just fully as plans to live. given that is final goal he can not totaly leave society.