The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail Themes

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The overriding message in the play is the struggle for freedom, which manifests itself in several ways. The idea of racial freedom is addressed through the many references to slavery. During the play, Henry meets a slave, Williams, who plans to go "North as I kin git! They say the Norther ya git, the free-er ya git!" However, although Henry supports Williams's escape to Canada, he warns him that men in the north are not free, either: "Every man shackled to a ten-hour-a-day is a work-slave. Every man who has to worry about next month's rent is a money-slave."

This idea of being chained to institutions, even within a free society, is expressed further through Henry's individual struggle. When he is confronted by Sam Staples, the friendly constable tells Henry he has to pay his taxes, to help support the war. Henry, however, refuses to pay...

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This section contains 1,157 words
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The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.