To what extent do you think Thoreau's audience agreed with him?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Speaking from the most general of positions, I would suggest that most people would not have agreed with Thoreau's positions.  Thoreau would not have cherished agreement with the body politic.  It was precisely because he disagreed with what was happening that he was able to value his position as one who provided the voice of dissent in a world of consent.  Thoreau would not have enjoyed it much if there was automatic agreement with him.  Thoreau was able to develop his own voice precisely because others disagreed with him on the direction of social attitudes and governmental policy.  However, I think that the audience who would be reading Thoreau's work would be appreciative of his writing.  Thoreau was a writer that drew out a stark division in readers.  Those that would have fallen in his audience probably embraced his ideas.  His audience would have affirmed his position.  The Transcendentalist audience that believed Thoreau to remain true to its philosophical tenets would have embraced his ideas in terms of resistance to that which is wrong and would have liked his approach to voicing dissent regardless of the consequences if it reflects one's inner and true beliefs.

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