Why Thoreau Is Still Relevant

1 January 2018

Both Hawthorne and Thoreau use specific techniques to convey their idea that the individual is more important the society as a whole but they each have their own uses for them. Hawthorne conveys the importance of the individual through symbolism, while Thoreau uses specific and powerful diction to convey the idea that the individual is most important. Thoreau makes note of his stand against conformity by stating, “Witness the present Mexican War, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.”(Thoreau) Thoreau explains how individuals use the government as a tool to get there way when they should just find the answers within themselves. They as an individual is more important than the government as a whole. Thoreau describes men as “subjects” in his line, “I think that we should be men first and subjects afterward.”(Thoreau) According to the government and Thoreau we are their subjects. On the contrary, despite this idea, Thoreau stresses the importance of the individual being the more important than the law and government. It is more important to be yourself as mankind than to be a subject of the law. In addition to diction, Thoreau shows his opinion in the use of powerful imagery in order to get the readers in persuading them of his belief. After precisely making his point about the people having the power to empower the government in making decisions, he continues on by saying that in order to pursue something, the individual must rely on themselves to find answers and not rely on others: “If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders”(Thoreau). One must disconnect him or herself from the establishment in order to reach one’s own conclusion on the situation. The conclusion they come up with themselves in much more important than one influences by society.

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