Can you help me with the following prompt? "Reread the nightmare scene near the end of The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail and describe the main characters and primary events in Henry’s nightmare...

Can you help me with the following prompt? "Reread the nightmare scene near the end of The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail and describe the main characters and primary events in Henry’s nightmare (pp. 92–96)."

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

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I think that the nightmare scene at the end of the drama speaks to the idea that war is something that demands moral and active opposition, should one feel it.  Thoreau feels that the war is unjust.  Yet, his nightmare is the result of inaction.  The nightmare scene is one in which Thoreau's objection to war is evident, but the lack of action has enabled the machine of war to take over.  It renders Thoreau's own voice as ineffective.  This is why the ending of the drama has him leaving Walden in the hopes of taking a more active and visible role against the nature of war.  It is here where the drama speaks about the idea of how one must actively resist war, if they feel compelled to do so.  If individuals authentically believe that war is wrong, they simply cannot be passive if they wish to change things.  Thoreau's ending is one in which he speaks to the idea of bridging theory and reality.  The theoretical principles of opposition to war must be matched to a reality in which individuals actively resist war.  This becomes vitally important in both Thoreau's characterization in the drama and the statement being made about the condition of war.

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