My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is pretty complicated. It had some thought-invoking ideas, but it was very boring. All I kept reading about was important and definitely had meaning, but it seemed so “already known.” I suppose that’s because, again, I am interpreting the piece with a 20th century mind, whereas it was written with a 19th century mind. It was probably made sense back then. It would have been first time news in the 1800s.
My favorite part of the whole piece was when Thoreau described his night in prison. It was interesting to see even the most minute details of his night in prison. It would be interesting to know who paid his taxes for him so that he could get out of jail! This whole portion was the enjoyable read though. I just wish all of his essays were written like this one.
The larger chunk of Resistance to Civil Government, however, read partially like a manual for some complicated piece of machinery. It’s like Emerson’s Self-Reliance all over again. There were good ideas and I followed it pretty well. It’s just that it was a strain and could have been said in less words.
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