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Live Deliberately Essay Contest

By Henry David Thoreau

❶It does not educate. They will then be the only slaves.

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Introduction

The story is, to say the least, unusual. One recalls that eighty years is more than twice the In reviewing in November, , the Collected Poems of Henry Thoreau, edited by Carl Bode, American Literature gave the book the commendation it so richly deserved, but, except at a single point, did not consider it critically in detail. I hope it is not too late for a few more critical remarks about this admirable but not I am sincerely grateful to Mr.

Allen for his interest in the Collected Poems, and it is pleasant indeed to have an opportunity to acknowledge that fact.

When, in time to come, I prepare a second edition, I shall be Matthiessen points out American Renaissance , p. Such a reading is supported by the poem's context, which is the entire book Walden. I wish to go further and suggest reasons why When Edith Emerson was born on November 22, , her father wrote in his journals: There came into the house a young maiden, but she seemed to be more than a thousand years old. She came into the house naked and helpless, but she had for her defence more than the strength of millions.

She brought into the day the manners of the Night. Dated July 2, Professor Carl Bode's edition of Henry Thoreau's poems was first published in , and it was at once acknowledged that the editor had done his work very well indeed. He had searched widely and thoroughly to bring together all the verse he could find, in print and manuscript, and both his textual and general A review of collected poems in The New England Quarterly: The Collected Poems of Henry Thoreau was the first variorum edition of an American poet when issued in This is a reprinting of that out-of-print page edition, with some 25 new pages added at the end.

The great majority of Thoreau's poems bear in some way on the subject of inspiration: A study of inspiration in Thoreau's poetry Journal of the American Renaissance , No. Despite Carl Bode's critical edition of Thoreau's complete poetry, with a brief introduction and a critical article by Henry W.

Within the works of Henry David Thoreau one finds ample description of and commentary on mist and haze. Whether in the form of damp and dense fog or in shimmering rays of heat, mist and haze created for Thoreau an ethereal effect.

All recognizable landscape became transformed and paradisiacal and stimulated his poetic imagination into new realms. Journal of the American Renaissance , No 54, , pp. Although Thoreau wrote perhaps only a handful of first-rate poems, he follows Emerson in regarding poetry as one of the noblest activities of man, and in his poetry he often tries to embody attitudes which his prose states only theoretically.

This connection between theory and practice applies especially to his conception of nature The ultimate experience for Thoreau was a complete destruction of the division between himself and that outside himself, a unification—or reunification—of all elements of existence. Whereas Emerson talked of a soul reaching out and becoming one with the non-physical Oversoul, Thoreau described a more tangible oneness with physical nature.

Emerson used nature as a vehicle to the Ideal; Thoreau, the sensualist, acknowledged this use but became too intimate In the late summer of , around August 31, Henry Thoreau copied or composed in his manuscript journal two poems in iambic pentameter verse.

They also much resemble Robert Frost's narrative Edward Chamberlayne's judgment on his mistress' poetry reflects with accuracy the critical verdict on the poetry of Thoreau: Doyle, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, , pp. Thoreau, whom we come to honor, speaks to us today. You have been hearing, seeing the traces of Thoreau in our own time. I imagine much of what I am going to say to you may be recapitulation. But I want to recapitulate for you, from this place where I Thoreau's reputation as a major American writer has not depended upon his poetry.

Eighty-one years passed from the time of Thoreau's death He exhorts people not to just wait passively for an opportunity to vote for justice, because voting for justice is as ineffective as wishing for justice; what you need to do is to actually be just.

This is not to say that you have an obligation to devote your life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.

Paying taxes is one way in which otherwise well-meaning people collaborate in injustice. People who proclaim that the war in Mexico is wrong and that it is wrong to enforce slavery contradict themselves if they fund both things by paying taxes. Thoreau points out that the same people who applaud soldiers for refusing to fight an unjust war are not themselves willing to refuse to fund the government that started the war. In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed.

But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken.

In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation. Abolitionists , in Thoreau's opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxes , even if this means courting imprisonment. Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.

If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.

This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. Because the government will retaliate, Thoreau says he prefers living simply because he therefore has less to lose. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case. He was briefly imprisoned for refusing to pay the poll tax , but even in jail felt freer than the people outside.

He considered it an interesting experience and came out of it with a new perspective on his relationship to the government and its citizens. He was released the next day when "someone interfered, and paid that tax".

Thoreau said he was willing to pay the highway tax, which went to pay for something of benefit to his neighbors, but that he was opposed to taxes that went to support the government itself—even if he could not tell if his particular contribution would eventually be spent on an unjust project or a beneficial one. Because government is man-made, not an element of nature or an act of God , Thoreau hoped that its makers could be reasoned with.

As governments go, he felt, the U. But he felt we could and should insist on better. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.

An aphorism often erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson , [16] "That government is best which governs least I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least;" and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all;" and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi a. Mahatma Gandhi was impressed by Thoreau's arguments. In , about one year into his first satyagraha campaign in South Africa , he wrote a translated synopsis of Thoreau's argument for Indian Opinion , credited Thoreau's essay with being "the chief cause of the abolition of slavery in America", and wrote that "Both his example and writings are at present exactly applicable to the Indians in the Transvaal.

Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself.

He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced. At the time of the abolition of slavery movement, he wrote his famous essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity.

His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Essays may also be selected to receive Honorable Mention in each age group, which will be awarded with an autographed special edition of Walden.

The deadline for essay submission is usually March For information about past contest winners and to read their essays, click here. To express interest in being a Volunteer Reviewer , please complete the form found here! Incessant labor with my hands, at first, for I had my house to finish and my beans to hoe at the same time, made more study impossible. Live Deliberately Essay Contest. Thanks to all who entered the Live Deliberately Essay Contest!


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Thoreau's major reform essays, walking essays, and natural history essays. Major essays by Henry D. Thoreau: A Walk to Wachusett» An essay about a journey Thoreau took with Richard Fuller, from Concord to the summit of Mount Wachusett located in Princeton, Massachusetts. (10 pages) A Winter Walk» An essay that deals with relationship with nature.

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[In the following essay, which was originally delivered as a lecture at a festival honoring Thoreau, the poet Rukeyser asserts that Thoreau's poems are “suburban in relation to the forest of the prose” and compares Thoreau to Sir Walter Raleigh.

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Thoreau is using an argumentative style of writing in this essay. The goal of this style is to be able to convince the readers that your statements are better and more valid than anybody else’s. There are three categories for the means of persuasion which are; Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. Today, the essay also appears under the title On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, perhaps to contrast it with William Paley's Of the Duty of Civil Obedience to which Thoreau was in part responding. For instance, the New American Library Signet Classics .

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Henry Thoreau wrote an essay titled Civil Disobedience that has through the years become the authoritative argument on the subject. People as distinguished as Martin Luther King and Gandhi have used this essay as a cornerstone in their respective movements. Walden by Henry David Thoreau Essay - Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden, by Henry David Thoreau is written in first person about the events and ideas that came to the author during his time living at Walden Pond in the eighteen hundreds.