"Civil Disobedience" vs "Huck Finn" (a contrast between authors and ideas)

Essay by master_okaidoHigh School, 11th grade June 2002

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Henry David Thoreau was without a doubt one of the most influential authors of American literature. He was a non-fiction writer that wrote many pieces (most of which were essays.) His literature almost always pertained to his own life experiences. In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau explains the reasons behind his disapproval of the American government. Mark Twain was another writer during a somewhat later time period than Thoreau. Twain was a fictional writer, however his stories were based upon real life ideas and experiences. In on of his novels, The Adventures of Huck Finn, Twain presents us with the idea of conformity and society versus nature, and what people might actually desire. Both authors characters are similar, Huck and Thoreau seem like they want the same thing, however have different approaches to what they want. These two people are very comparable, and yet they come from two totally different backgrounds.

In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau expresses his strong disapproval of the American government. He even makes the following statement: "the best government is the one that governs the least." This quote shows us that Thoreau really does have a strong dislike for the government and that he will rebel against it. Thoreau does in fact rebel against the government by not paying his taxes. This causes him to suffer one night in jail. In his isolation, he is able to think, and concludes that he would rather be in jail than out in the real world.

The Adventures of Huck Finn presents the same concept, however in a different light. Huck Finn wants to get away from society because he wishes to be free, and he also wants his friend, who is a slave, to also feel the same freedom. Together the two of them escape the clutches of society (which...