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Self-Reliance And Thoreau's Prison Comparison

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In Self-Reliance Emerson’s prison is a figurative allusion of the conformity of society. In Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government Thoreau literally gets placed into prison. However, in Thoreau’s text prison is correspondingly a metaphor for society and its continued conformity. In both texts the writer’s persuasive tone beseeches the reader to not consent to the social-contracts of society. In Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government prison is a symbol of being confined in a society that does not accept individualism, but rather accepts and requires the majority and conformism of all citizens and men. In Self-Reliance Emerson utilizes jail as an allusion of being confined by the conforms of society and that one is trapped in societies conscious instead of one’s own. Emerson explains that “man is, as it were,…show more content…
Thoreau explains that the state and societies prison “never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength” and furthermore that he “was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion” (1990). Therefore, Resistance to Civil Government is validating that prison is confinement and conformity, however, Thoreau will not be conforming to any such conformist state and neither should the reader. Thoreau finally reinforces that he is “not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society” and that “if a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so man” (1990), Thoreau is explicating that society needs to be responsible for its self and become self-reliant, just as an individual should be, because it is the nature of the world and society and if it cannot live as such then it will not continue to
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