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Freedom and Opression in Literature

Uploaded by KyraDean on Oct 29, 2002

Freedom. The basic, yet insubstantial, ideal for which America was founded. Described as liberty, autonomy, or sovereignty, freedom is possibly the most common basic right of humans. Despite this commonality, it is perhaps the one word in the dictionary that has an extraordinarily individualistic meaning to every single person. The studied authors of American literature represent this belief in each of their writings. The coercion of personal freedom is one of the worst travesties one might ever face, as many individuals did face in our readings. Predominantly Native Americans, Blacks, and women are found most commonly oppressed due to ignorance of others and society of their respective times.

Native Americans, perhaps, embody the purest thoughts of simple freedom. "We came to these mountains about us; no one lived here, and so we took them for our home and country" (277), Cochise says in his narration, “I am alone.” During the westward expansion of the mid and late 1800s, Native Americans were stripped of their freedom, along with their land. He illustrates not only why Native Americans love their freedom of land and nature, but also why this freedom should not be oppressed and why Native Americans should not be forced from their homelands. Charlot also supports this: "We cherished him--yes, befriended him, and showed [him] the fords and defiles of our lands" (280). Native Americans, according to Charlot, were willing to compromise with the white man and share their land as long as they could maintain their freedom and land. Eastman also supported Charlot’s compromise. In his work “From the Deep Woods” (633), he says, “There is only one thing for us to do and be just to both sides. We must use every means for peaceful settlement in this difficulty” (639). Whites, in ignorant belief that Native Americans had no freedoms, savagely invaded Indian settlements and camps, as Eastman continues, “Troops opened fire form all sides, killing not only unarmed men, women, and children, but their own comrades who stood opposite them, for the camp was entirely surrounded” (644). Here, freedom is atrociously stripped with the repression of the Native Americans.

Although freedom has different individual meanings for each of the African-American writers we have studied, they all translate freedom into the achievement of equality, esteem, and full rights and emancipation equivalent to those of whites. Booker T. Washington vividly illustrates the sacredness of his freedom as he recalls his own...

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Uploaded by:   KyraDean

Date:   10/29/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   6 pages (1,271 words)

Views:   1541

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