Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Quotes

Quote #10

[Man] must maintain himself in whatever attitude he finds himself through obedience to the laws of his being, which will never be one of opposition to a just government, if he should chance to meet with such. (Conclusion.3)

Just because the government says something is law, doesn't mean that it's just. Thoreau believes that a personal sense of justice overrides obedience to law. That might get you thrown in jail (as it does for him when he doesn't pay his poll tax), but he stands by it.

Quote #11

How worn and dusty, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! (Conclusion.4)

Thoreau sees tradition and conformity as powerful tools society uses to keep people from discovering spiritual truths.

Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top