The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

by Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee

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I was wondering if anyone could think of two quotes that explain this quote ("Could your woodchucks, with all their wisdom, have saved Henry Williams? Are your fish going to build roads, teach school, put out fires?") and also that discuss Henry's way of life and thinking.

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The following quote by Henry sums up his view during a conversation with his fellow prisoner as they listen to the footsteps of a man walking outside the jail:

I know where he's going. He's going where he's supposed to go. So he can be where he's supposed to be, at the time he's supposed to be there. Why? So he'll be liked. My God, a whole country of us who only want to be liked. But to be liked, you must never disagree. And if you never disagree, it's like only breathing in and never breathing out!

It is as if, by Henry's very nature, he is incapable of following the rest of society. The qyote about the fish and woodchucks show how even people who are sympathetic to Henry such as Waldo, rely on society to accomplish things which Henry thinks can happen through individual action. The essay linked below has a complete summary of that idea.

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