The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

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John Thoreau Character Analysis

Henry’s beloved brother. John, like Henry, is thoughtful and passionate, and the only person Henry seems to love with unbridled affection. John dies from an infection caused by a rusty razor blade, a death that Henry sees as pointless and meaningless, and which he connects to the deaths of soldiers in war.
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John Thoreau Character Timeline in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

The timeline below shows where the character John Thoreau appears in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
Education, Thought, Information, and Learning Theme Icon
Complacency, Conformity, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...“Cast conformity behind you.” Henry repeats these words “as if memorizing a commandment.” Henry’s brother John enters and approaches Henry with amusement. Henry, still in a trance, says to John that... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
Education, Thought, Information, and Learning Theme Icon
Complacency, Conformity, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Henry stands and sees John, as if breaking out of a trance, and embraces him. John asks if Henry has... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
...a cricket or smell a flower unless it has been approved by the school board. John appears, and tells Henry to have an ounce of humility, or he will be fired,... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
Education, Thought, Information, and Learning Theme Icon
John and his mother stand on the edge of the stage. John says a school doesn’t... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
John enters and helps Henry pull an imaginary boat from an imaginary pond (they are back... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
...take her back to shore on the condition that she attend church with his brother John, whom he believes is in love with her. She agrees. When they arrive back to... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
Complacency, Conformity, and Responsibility Theme Icon
The lights come up on Henry’s family in church. Ellen sits beside John. Suddenly, Henry’s mother sees with horror that Henry has come into church pushing a wheelbarrow... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
Complacency, Conformity, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...enough—he must declare his independence every day. The group disperses, Henry with his wheelbarrow and John with Ellen, leaving Mrs. Thoreau alone. She prays to God that he will not make... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
Lights fade and rise on Henry and John, laughing in the meadow. Henry assumes John’s laughter means that Ellen said yes to a... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
...and there is the sound of church bells. A ministerial voice announces the death of John Thoreau. The lights come up on Mrs. Thoreau and Henry. Henry refuses to pray—he believes... (full context)
Protest, Resistance, Community, and Action Theme Icon
...transcend it. She says she has just come to understand Transcendentalism. She wonders if—even though John is no longer living—he continues to “be.” (full context)
Act 2
History and the Importance of Learning from the Past Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Henry notices his brother John in the ranks, but just as he does, a volley of shots are heard. John... (full context)