Similarities Between Grapes Of Wrath And Civil Disobedience

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The issue of how government should function has long been debated over the years. Both The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau discuss this issue. Steinbeck comments on the birth of civilization from physical needs to government issues in chapter seventeen of The Grapes of Wrath and Thoreau examines the function of government in “Civil Disobedience.” Their views on government clash in some aspects and agree in others. Steinbeck and Thoreau hold contrasting beliefs about individual conscience but agree on how a government should be operated and on the type of people needed in government. In their respective works, both Thoreau and Steinbeck discuss individual conscience. Thoreau emphasizes that individual conscience should be the …show more content…

Thoreau continuously emphasizes in his essay that a government that has less control over the people is best and even adds that the only times when the government has been useful has been when it has stood aside. Thoreau believes “every man [should] make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it” (Thoreau 1). Here, Thoreau showcases his belief that the people themselves should make up the government instead of having a few elite number of people control everything. Likewise, Steinbeck illustrates a similar view by describing how the migrants in chapter seventeen form their own government. The migrants come together and eventually, “leaders emerg[e],... laws [are] made, [and]...codes [come] into being” to establish order (Steinbeck 265). It can be seen in this chapter that Thoreau believes the people themselves should determine the leaders and laws of the government. Both Thoreau and Steinbeck express that a government’s power come from the people and therefore should be controlled by the people

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