QuestionsRocco FilippiniAP EnglishBased on my reading of the Essay


Rocco Filippini

AP English

Based on my reading of the text Henry David Thoreau seems like a crazy person who is disconnected from the rest of the world. I believe that this is because the biography at the beginning of the text says that he lived out in the wilderness by himself. He uses a lot of advanced language but that doesn’t mean he isnt crazy. A example in the text that makes me believe that he is disconnected and crazy is when he talks about how if you went to the docks and met a marine they are an empty shell that is just taking orders.

Obviously that is not true, Marines are very proud to be Marines and love their country, and even though they take orders they are most definitely individual thinkers.

I think that Thoreau tried to seem credible to his users by using a lot of big words and advanced language. For some people that aren’t intellectuals big words and higher language mean that someone is speaking the truth and they are trustworthy.

In addition to the language Thoreau makes many emotional appeals but for me they weren’t very effective because he just sounded like a ranting crazy person. One thing that was very off-putting was when he started saying that not only was the government in the wrong but also the people were too. This is very similar to the rants that modern day anarchists make and they are definitely crazy. Maybe if I didn’t read that he lived in the woods by himself my opinion of him would be different.

In the text Thoreau uses the metaphor that voting is like gambling and your only telling the people that you elect that you want them to do what you want. The idea that I think he is trying to get across is that voting is a choice between two ideas both of which may be in the wrong. This is a pretty abstract idea that is hard to wrap your head around and using a metaphor makes it a lot easier to understand. Thoreau also refers to the government and the people who don’t question the government as the machine. This gives it a negative anti-individual connotation. In the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx uses the same metaphor to make the capitalists look like and evil machine. It is quite effective and great for getting people to your side.

I think that Thoreau wanted his readers to feel angry and want to take action. By calling them machines that just take orders from the government is an effective way to make people want to take action. He states unjust laws and political action people want to take and says that instead of waiting for politicians to do it the people should do it themselves. One appeal he was trying to make that was about the government keeping just men in prison ended up turning into him being bitter about being in prison for a day.

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