How does the movie "The Truman Show" relate to Thoreau's ideas in Civil Disobedience?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that Truman Burbank's growth and evolution represents much of what Thoreau seeks to say.  The idea of taking action against what someone knows to be wrong or fraudulent is something that Truman represents and what Thoreau advocates.  While Thoreau is operating on a distinct political level, Truman is doing something similar in seeking to break out of the contrived nature of the television show.  Thoreau is an advocate of individuals questioning reality, something that Truman does as the film advances, questioning his wife, his friendships, as well as his mother and his state of being in the world.  Truman is not passive in his predicament, something that Thoreau would advocate and appreciate.  At the same time, I don't think that Truman could be seen as conformist, an element that Thoreau would advocate.  When Truman is faced with the ultimate of choice to stay on the island and given every comfort versus leaving to experience the pitfalls and challenges of freedom, Truman does not hesitate in walking away.  Thoreau would support such a decision, suggesting that to break away from conformity and embrace individual identity and freedom are intrinsic goods.

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