Comparing Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, Whitman’s “One’s Self I Sing”, and Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” Essay Sample

Some of the greatest American authors of the 19th century wrote about a subject of the single. Two that come to mind when composing about the person are Henry David Thoreau who wrote “Civil Disobedience” and Walt Whitman who wrote “One’s-Self I Singing. ” Thoreau was known for being an individualist. who fought against philistinism and societal conformance. Whitman was similar to Thoreau in that he excessively took powerful and devoted bases against the societal and cultural waies of persons. Whitman besides used his ain character as a criterion of ego. subjecting his ain kernel as equal with that of the mundane individual. One last individual that comes to mind when composing about the person is. of class. Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote “Self-Reliance. ” This literary work is likely the best work about merely the person and how an person should be perceived.

`In “Civil Disobedience. ” Thoreau begins an onslaught on the doctrine of a strong opinion authorities by stating. “I heartily accept the slogan ‘That authorities is best which governs least ; ’ and I should wish to see it acted up to more quickly and consistently. ” ( Thoreau 1614 ) Thoreau farther provinces that he holds the belief that adult male will be able to hold a authorities that does non regulate at all. He believes that the demand for authorities truly arises from the demand of people to hold a kind of “machine” to command things and do their determinations for them. Thoreau explains that the lone clip authorities has helped is when it has stood aside. In fact authorities does non: maintain the state free. settle the West. or educate ; instead such accomplishments come from the character of the people. The message I received from reading Thoreau is to avoid tie ining with authorities all together. that people should populate by their scruples non the Torahs of an unfair authorities. When people do this they can research new thoughts and be originative. Thoreau is seeking to dispute the mean individual to populate up to their potency. which reflects on individuality. In other words. don’t sit around and allow other people dictate your life. stand up and make things for yourself.

In “One’s-Self I Singing. ” Whitman shows his thought of individuality by stating. “One’s-Self I sing. a simple separate individual. / Yet arrant the word Democratic. the word En-Masse / Of physiology from top to toe I sing. / Not physiognomy entirely nor encephalon entirely is worthy for the Muse. / I say the Form complete is worthier far. / The Female every bit with the Male I sing. / Of Life immense in passion. pulsation. and power. / Cheerful. for freest action form’d under the Torahs divine. / The Modern Man I sing. ” ( Whitman 2175 ) Whitman. in this verse form. efforts to carry the thought of individualism and democracy. As Whitman sees it. the single and society are inseparable under democracy. When one celebrates an person. one celebrates all. Society can non reject a portion of itself and stay whole. and as such. the person can non reject a portion of themselves and stay whole. The organic structure and the head are indivisible. If one rejects the organic structure so they are rejecting themselves. Likewise. if one rejects the head. so once more. they are rejecting themselves. As portion of society. one must observe both adult female and adult male in order to be considered complete as a human being. Life can be freed from the “laws divine” which sees adult male as iniquitous and damned. That modern adult male need non populate under the weight of such Torahs.

In “Self-Reliance. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson negotiations exhaustively about the person. One of the infinite things about individuality that he talks approximately is when he says. “…imitation is suicide ; that he must take himself for better for worse as his part. ” ( Emerson 1005 ) He explains that if people are non true in the sense of individuality. so these people are in consequence “committing self-destruction. ” Everson so describes how people must take their single egos for who and what they are. and that people should neither alter nor imitate others. He says. “We but half express ourselves. and are ashamed of that Godhead thought which each of us represents. ” ( Emerson 1005 ) He’s seeking to state that if people believe they can non be depended on as single so they can’t rely on other persons. This leads to a deficiency in assurance and in bend affects every individual’s ethical motives and has a negative consequence on an individual’s consciousness.


Emerson. Ralph Waldo. “Self-Reliance. ” Anthology of American Literature. George McMichael et Al. Upper Saddle River: Person Education. Inc. . 2007. 1004-1021Thoreau. David. “Civil Disobedience. ” Anthology of American Literature. George McMichael et Al. Upper Saddle River: Person Education. Inc. . 2007.

Whitman. Walt. “One’s Self I Sing. ” Anthology of American Literature. George McMichael et Al. Upper Saddle River: Person Education. Inc. . 2007.

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