Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau 's `` Walden `` Essay

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Throughout history, there have been individuals and forms of government lacking a moral conscience, and this will most likely continue to occur. Many argue that this is merely a facet of human nature - we, as human beings, are inherently greedy and corrupt. However, there are those who contrast sharply with this view, crying out against the wrongdoings of certain powers, pushing for change and reform. Henry David Thoreau is a prime example of these individuals. Using personification, forthright and cynical diction, and rhetorical questions, Thoreau criticizes the American government, and certain aspects of society in “Civil Disobedience” and the inability of individuals to reach their true potential in “Walden”. Ultimately, Thoreau aims to illustrate the primary issues of society during his time, thus exposing them to his readers, and causing them to reform those issues.
While each of Thoreau’s works may be focused on a certain issue (Civil Disobedience revolving around the government and Walden revolving around nature), close readings will reveal that his works are a progression from generalizations to specific problems, namely slavery. According to James Donahue, Thoreau’s complexities and ideas cannot be understood unless one reads his pieces “as a development in his political thinking, specifically with regard to the issue of slavery.” This is especially seen in Civil Disobedience, but again, it is better understood if read alongside other novels. Thoreau was born…

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