Walden Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In Walden and Resistance to Civil Government, Henry David Thoreau the author, uses the rhetorical strategies of personification, metaphor, and allusion/symbolism in the chapter “Conclusion” to describe what he learned from his experiment of living in Walden Pond. Thoreau’s main message of what he learned is to be undefined by what’s in front. Without the limits of conformity, humans have the capacity to achieve much greater and beautiful dreams and goals. Conformity is the boundary that doesn’t let individuals reach their great potential. Thoreau uses effective personification to imply the significance of following one’s dreams confidently. “He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor”…show more content…
“A living dog is better than a dead lion. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made” (217). In this quote, the “living dog" symbolizes modern Americans and the "dead lion," symbolizes the wise ancients. Thoreau is contradicting the belief that modern Americans are less intelligent than men in the past. Each generation is unique and has different perceptions, ideas, and people. Thoreau wants us to make the most of what is given to us and put aside all societal expectations. The biblical allusion of the dog and the lion indicates that a living dog is better than a dead lion because a dead lion can’t do anything since it’s dead. It doesn’t matter if we are dogs, we are at least alive and have possibility to be the best we can in the generation we are meant to be
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