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What It Means to Be Free

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Demonhound
Words 883
Pages 4
Alleeyah Casper
Amanda Deaton
American Literature
28 February 2014
What It Really Means To Be Free The word Freedom holds different meanings for different people. Some think freedom is allowing people to live their lives, but they have many guidelines and restrictions on them. For others it’s allowing people to do, say, and live the way they want too with the minimum amount of guidance. Is that really freedom or are ideas of freedom really just what others say they are? The Harlem Renaissance and The chrysanthemums are two different examples from The American Short Stories of what being free could mean to people. In The Chrysanthemums, Elisa was a strong woman who wanted to do more with her life instead of being caged in like an animal. She strived to be a strong woman, but during her day she was only seen as an innocent woman that couldn’t do what men did. It’s fine for Elisa to work in a garden planting and maintaining her Chrysanthemums. But when she jumps at the chance to maintain the apple trees it’s only seen as a joke by her husband Henry. Later on a guy offering to fix any broken pans or sharpen scissors arrives and talks with Elisa while try to get her to let him fix something for her. At first she says no because she knows she can do it herself, but ends up giving in and letting him fix some old pans for her. Later on after he fixed her pans the guy ends up telling her that his line of work is no place for a woman. After the man leaves she goes inside to get ready for her night out with her husband. As Elisa gets ready she holds her head up high and keeps a strong but steady air about herself that her husband then notices when there about to leave. Overall, Elisa just wants to be seen as a strong woman that can do just as much as any man can. She wants the freedom to be able to go and do as she pleases, without some body criticizing her over her gender.
In The Harlem Renaissance, African Americans wanted to be free from segregation, so they moved up towards the north there was still racism but not as bad as the south. In moving towards the north they were meet with jobs and new way to express their artistic skills. They were able to perform their music and poetry in front of crowds of people while writers were able to work in white publishing firms. The stock market then crashed and this lasted all throughout the thirties and the forties. With the crash brought the end to Harlem’s artistic and jazz party or swell. Through everything that happened they were able to put aside their stereotypes and invoke the ghosts of slavery and everything they went through in slavery through the way of literary work. Therefore, African Americans had some type of freedom living in the north. Sure there was still some racism. But that was tolerable compared to being back in the south were they were completely slaves, and had no say in anything that really happened to them.
The chrysanthemums and The Harlem Renaissance both deal with freedom and people trying to accomplish something in their lives. They were both being segregated; Elisa was segregated by gender and the African Americans by the color of their skin. They each just wanted a chance for people to see that they weren’t that different from everyone else. They wanted the freedom to make their own choices, to have their own voice especially when it involved their own lives. Both wanted to be able to have the freedom to control what they could do and not have someone shut them down. African Americans could work and do everything a white person could, while women could show men that they can do just as much as they can. Evan though both stories wanted freedom they did have their differences. While The Harlem Renaissance talked about African Americans they meant all of them men, women, and children. They also couldn’t work in proper places; kids didn’t really have a proper school to go too. Where as in The Chrysanthemums it was only talking about how women got discriminated against. But women were still able to walk around and not be judged or kicked out of places because of their skin color. They were able to send their kids to school and get a proper education. Both stories have a different meaning behind it and the both tell a whole different store in history.
In conclusion to looking at both these stories you can come up with the fact that both parties are wanting to be free. But we still don’t really know what freedom entitles us to. In reading about both the events I noticed that the meaning of freedom is the same. They both wanted to be equal with everyone else. Not to be judged or told they can’t do something. Freedom is what you make of it not what other people tell you it is. You make your own freedom with the way you think, say, and do things. That’s what it means to be free.…...

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