9 December, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite Subversive Fiction

Walden and Civil Disobedience File:Walden Thoreau.jpg
Thoreau

I spent most of my college career trying to avoid reading the classics, and I’m proud to say I largely succeeded. One classic, however, that I didn’t mind reading — that I still turn to from time to time — was Thoreau’s Walden and Civil Disobedience. I appreciate Walden because it generally falls in line with my own way of thinking: that we need to stay true to what we believe, regardless of whether it’s what the majority believes or even law. While I suppose that “civil disobedience” is by definition subversive, I have always thought it natural to follow your own conscience rather than the dictates of others, and that is how I try to live my life — not by running away from society and living in a cabin in the woods (though that is precisely where I have ended up), and not even by not paying my taxes and getting thrown in jail — but rather by doing what I believe is right. I espouse the subversive premise behind Walden so very well that a friend once gifted me a copy of the book for my birthday, because she felt it suited me.

I don’t think of myself as subversive, but Walden and Civil Disobedience certainly qualify. If aspiring to be as true to myself, as Thoreau was to himself, makes me subversive, then I suppose I must be.

-Elisha Dew

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