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# Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti

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Senior SC Moderator
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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2017, 06:19
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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience in an unjust state.

Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience is considered by many to be the most important political document of the 19th century. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Thoreau is even sometimes cited as an anarchist. Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government — "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government" — the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

In one analysis of Civil Disobedience, Richard Drinnon partly blames Thoreau for the ambiguity, noting that Thoreau's "sly satire, his liking for wide margins for his writing, and his fondness for paradox provided ammunition for widely divergent interpretations of Civil Disobedience.” Regardless of whether Thoreau intended to create this ambiguity, it cannot be denied that this work has influenced the political thoughts of both anarchists and those committed to improving and changing government through civil disobedience.

1. Which of the following statements would the author of the passage most likely agree with?

(A) Civil Disobedience is a more important work than Walden.
(B) Civil Disobedience lends itself to a variety of interpretations.
(C) Civil Disobedience is a text worthy of more attention than it receives.
(D) Thoreau intended for Civil Disobedience to be ambiguous.
(E) Civil Disobedience has influenced more positive political change than negative political change.

_________________

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“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

"Each stage of the journey is crucial to attaining new heights of knowledge."

Senior SC Moderator
Joined: 14 Nov 2016
Posts: 1321
Location: Malaysia
Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2017, 06:21
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hazelnut wrote:
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience in an unjust state.

Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience is considered by many to be the most important political document of the 19th century. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Thoreau is even sometimes cited as an anarchist. Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government — "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government" — the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

In one analysis of Civil Disobedience, Richard Drinnon partly blames Thoreau for the ambiguity, noting that Thoreau's "sly satire, his liking for wide margins for his writing, and his fondness for paradox provided ammunition for widely divergent interpretations of Civil Disobedience.” Regardless of whether Thoreau intended to create this ambiguity, it cannot be denied that this work has influenced the political thoughts of both anarchists and those committed to improving and changing government through civil disobedience.

1. Which of the following statements would the author of the passage most likely agree with?

(A) Civil Disobedience is a more important work than Walden.
(B) Civil Disobedience lends itself to a variety of interpretations.
(C) Civil Disobedience is a text worthy of more attention than it receives.
(D) Thoreau intended for Civil Disobedience to be ambiguous.
(E) Civil Disobedience has influenced more positive political change than negative political change.

Solution

For this Universal problem, there are specific elements of the passage that help you to eliminate each wrong answer, but it is also important to understand the mission of the author to help you quickly determine what's right.

Choice B simply must be true: the author spends the majority of the second and third paragraphs discussing the different interpretations of Civil Disobedience; in fact, each quotation used is used precisely to show a unique interpretation. So the author will certainly agree with B.

Choice A might very well be true, but you do not have any proof from the passage that the author believes Civil Disobedience is more important than Walden. When the author mentions the importance of Civil Disobedience, it is qualified as " the most important political document of the 19th century." Since Walden is defined as a book of a different genre, even the author's praise of Civil Disobedience's importance does not lend itself to a direct comparison.

Choice C could also be true, but again there is no proof. The author discusses the great deal of attention that Civil Disobedience has already received, and that at least provides some evidence that the author feels the other way, that it has been sufficiently discussed and referenced. Regardless, there just isn't evidence to show direct support for C.

Choice D is directly contradicted in paragraph three by the quote "Regardless of whether Thoreau intended to create this ambiguity..." And choice E is similar to choices A and C, in that there just doesn't exist evidence to make a comparison.
_________________

"Be challenged at EVERY MOMENT."

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

"Each stage of the journey is crucial to attaining new heights of knowledge."

Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti &nbs [#permalink] 28 Nov 2017, 06:21
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