Questions on “Civil Disobedience” By Henry David Thoreau

Passage –…

Questions –

1. One characteristic of Thoreau’s style is the aphorism. For example, in paragraph 4, he writes, “Its is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” Find other examples of Thoreau’s aphorisms. You might find some in paragraphs 9-10 and 20-22. What is the rhetorical effect of such statements?

2. Compare and contrast Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” to Martin Luther king Jr.’s “letter from Birmingham jail” by focusing on one of the following: purpose, definition of a just law, or figurative language.

3. Under the circumstances Thoreau describes, is civil disobedience a duty, as he says? Explain how Thoreau describes; is civil disobedience a duty, as he says? Explain how Thoreau’s essay speaks to our own time. Is the essay dated? Is it sill relevant?

4. Which of the three classic appeals dominates in paragraph 21, where Thoreau gives the government a human face? Defend your answer.

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