Don’t worry, this is just a metaphor for people who are cloyingly, invasively kind and try to absorb you into their world.  This amazing tirade, which takes up half a page, firmly rejects those who are overly friendly and solicitous, with a touch of condescension in their manner.  As you see, Thoreau ran a mile from such an embrace.

‘I do not like the men who come so near me with their bowels.  It is the most disagreeable kind of snare to be caught in.  Men’s bowels are far more slimy than their brains.’  17 June 1853

Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 212


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