Chapter one opens in in Daly City, California. A year-old Dave Pelzer sits shivering on a cot without blankets in his mother's garage. Due to his cold and hunger, sleep eludes Pelzer. He remembers how, at age four, his typically loving Mommy turned into The Mother, a harsh, demanding woman who often became abusive as she drank. She directed much of her rage at Pelzer, beginning with a dislocated arm at four years old. Pelzer believed that the shock would motivate her to change, but she only slipped more deeply into the role of the Mother. She banishes him from the house and refuses proper food and clothing.
Their champion fighter, Goliath, taunted the armies of Israel daily. But no Hebrew soldier had dared to face this giant of a man. David, newly anointed but still a boy, was deeply offended by the giant's haughty, mocking challenges. He was zealous to defend the Lord's name. Armed with the inferior weapons of a shepherd, but empowered by God, David killed the mighty Goliath.
While Thoreau lived at Walden July 4, —September 6, , he wrote journal entries and prepared lyceum lectures on his experiment in living at the pond. By , he had begun to set his first draft of Walden down on paper. After leaving Walden, he expanded and reworked his material repeatedly until the spring of , producing a total of eight versions of the book.