Anaylsis between Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience & Kings Letter


In ;Civil Disobedience; and ;Letter from Birmingham Jail,; Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King use different techniques to fully convey their own opinions on injustice in the government; Thoreau uses a metaphor while King uses an illustration in order to establish emotional appeals. Even though ;Civil Disobedience,; by Henry David Thoreau, was written in 1849, and King was imprisoned in 1963, each recognize that injustice occurs in our government. Each author;s techniques are effective in proving that injustice should be demolished.
Henry David Thoreau compares the United States; government to a political machine. This machine has friction, which is Thoreau explains is injustice. He states that ;If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of the government, let it go, let it go…certainly the machine will wear out; (Thoreau 8). Thoreau is stating that this machine will eventually cease to run if the friction continues to occur. By having injustice in the government, corruption is ultimately the result, and the corrupt government will eventually crumble. Thoreau also explains that the people who are affected by the injustice should stop it, or at least make an effort to stop it. ;Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine; (Thoreau 8). Sitting back and letting others fix
the problem will accomplish nothing, but making any effort towards correcting the injustice is an accomplishment in itself.
Although Thoreau;s metaphor established an emotional appeal effectively, King;s illustrations elucidate the issue of injustice equally as effectively. King makes mention of the Christians that existed during times of great persecution, and he admires the way that they stood up for what they believed in. King explains that ;Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power b

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