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Concept of Freedom

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Freedom can be described as the power to undertake activities, speak, or have thoughts in manner that is free and independent. Everyone yearns for freedom at all the levels of our lives, however it is not always guaranteed on the grounds that other people’s wishes have to be protected. This therefore makes it usual for every human being to want to resist the legal guidelines and regulations in different social settings that are viewed as impediment. Freedom is not always guaranteed by evading the limitations which seems to impede it.
In The Vastness of the Dark, a young man, James, plots and gets away from his home stays on his own in the city like many different young men who have turned eighteen (MacLeod 360). To him, it feels like prison being at his maternal home at his teenage. Life at home according to him is monotonous given to the fact that he has been staying here since childhood and therefore needs more freedom. However, life is difficult in foreign land and the option of going back home is the only one remaining when his efforts of survival reach a dead end. Just like the prodigal son in the Bible, he travels back home to the comfort of his family. It is evident that his freedom not guaranteed enough by running away from home.

In No Name Woman, Kingston aunt was tending to her appearance to attract men against what the culture required of her. She felt that culture was too conservative to deny women the freedom to do so. She wanted to have an upper hand in attracting men compared to other women and possibly have more than one man for her bed. On the contrary, instead of getting a husband for herself, she is raped and becomes pregnant. The members of her family consider less the possibility of things having happened beyond her capacity of control (Hong 24). They are disappointed by her pregnancy and choose to send her away from the family compound. Her house is destroyed forcing her to give birth to her child in a pigsty. When life becomes too much unbearable, she jumps the family well killing self and the child. Nevertheless, the family considers her a disgrace and pretends that she had never been born a reason her name is never mentioned in the novel. Instead of getting freedom for her face making and submitting to a man who raped her and got her pregnant, she is rejected and forgotten by her family and the society. The freedom she thought would be found in not achieved.

In Everyday Use by Alice Walker, Dee changes her name and wants more to align with her African roots (Alice 21). She considers the items made by the family aesthetics instead of symbols of oppression. She thinks that by associating with the African culture and the items made by the family were enough to give her freedom from the oppression of the whites. Her decisions are however not the choice of his mother and sister. They choose to identify with the culture of the immediate world where they are being oppressed. It is impossible for her to move further with her efforts of freedom since she cannot go against her mother and sister, making it difficult to realize full freedom.

In as much as freedom is an irrevocable desire to all of us, it has to be found through the adherence to the set social standards, identification with ones origin, culture, heritage and by remaining within the jurisdictions an individual finds themselves within.

Works Cited

Maxine Hong. No name woman. ABC, 1981.

MacLeod, Alistair. "The Vastness of the Dark." (2014)

Walker, Alice. Everyday use. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2004.

July 24, 2021


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