Topic: Henry David Thoreau

Order DescriptionThe text it needs to be derived from is:

Baym, Nina, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th ed. Vols. A, and B. New York: Norton, 2011. ISBN # 9780393913095

From the early decades of the 19th century, various influential critics and writers were calling for a distinctly American literary tradition, as distinct from British and other European influences. In his famous essay, “The Poet” Emerson calls for a writer who sees “the incomparable materials” America has to offer its writers and calls America “a poem in our eyes” (308). Whitman answers his call most directly, but many other writers before and after Emerson sought to capture the uniqueness of the new nation. In retrospect, all of these writers could be said to have contributed to an literary “American Renaissance.” Write an essay in which you argue that Henry David Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government” belongs in a literary tradition that is distinctly American. How does this writer respond to the call by Emerson and others for a literature that reflects the uniqueness, vastness, and/or complexity of America? For context, you may consult the Period Introduction (pp. 3-21 ), but the claims should be your own and not derived from outside sources. Begin with a clear thesis statement (at the end of your introductory paragraph) in which you make a specific claim about this author’s contribution to American literature in the work(s) you have chosen. While this has the potential to be overly broad, you will need to focus on a specific issue, agenda, theme, or other topic unique to America that your author addresses in the works.

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