Thursday, March 21, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Beginning from a very high moral compass nurtured in catholic school, Jake has an extreme responsibility to the faith and living a moral life. Once he gets to college, however, Jake renounces this responsibility and focuses more on experiencing life. With few morals now, Jake finds himself very free, but emotionally drained by the shallow nature of his friends and his incapability to write. After indulging in a hedonistic lifestyle of no responsibility, Jake finds himself contemplating suicide with the very pills to make his anxiety go away. He is addicted to the lifestyle and is losing freedom to the very things he thought would bring it. In desperation Jake rescues a prostitute and brings the responsibility of helping her recover upon himself. With this new found responsibility Jake is able to write and begin a novel--something he has been trying to begin since his college graduation. Only through responsibility was Jake able to find emotional stability to allow emotional freedom.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Attributing responsibility and freedom within the context of Beloved is unconventional.
Sethe, outcasted and proud, does not seem to feel any responsibility to her community. Before her obsession with Beloved, Sethe had only one true responsibility--protecting herself and her children from slavery (her past). She further found responsibility through work in order to support Denver. This responsibility seems to be a response to her lack of freedom pertaining to the past. Even in the free northern states, Sethe appears slave (ironic) to her past slavery. Without her acceptance of the past, Sethe cannot attain personal freedom.
After the incarnate Beloved is introduced into the novel the one responsibility that Sethe does hold is ignored. She is too obsessed by Beloved and her past that she ignores her responsibilities in reality, even a responsibility to physical necessities and supporting her children by working as she does lose her job. She indulges in her need to be responsible to the past and loses every freedom she has, completely controlled by her loyalty to her guilt.
Only after Beloved vanishes by the support of the community, is Sethe able to find personal freedom. Through the words and support of Paul D who reminds her that "she is her own best thing" and that she has two legs instead of four Sethe learns to forgive herself and move on to create a future in which she is actually free.
Sethe finds a responsibility to take care of herself by and lets go of the past to give her freedom.
Once Beloved becomes incarnate, Denver finds responsibility in protecting her from her mothers possible instability. With this new responsibility and companionship, Denver seems to have found satisfaction, but I would not call it freedom because it is temporary and completely dependent. Unlike Sethe's struggle with the past, Denver's struggle appears to be with identity. When she is with Beloved she fears that she has no self outside of Beloved.
When Denver transitions to protecting her mother from Beloved, she steps into the world, a step of freedom brought on by a sense of responsibility. She asks for work and finds responsibilities within the community and discovers that she must take care of herself--a concept that never occurred to Denver before. In finding her own responsibilities, Denver begins to imagine a future for herself, possibly attending college and being sought after by boys. In talking with Paul D at the end of the novel, Denver is proven the most dynamic character, with a sense of confidence and purpose that come with identity.
Denver found freedom in identity through seeking responsibility.
Between these two contrasting characters, freedom appears to be the responsibility to take care of oneself, in part by providing yourself a future. Freedom is moving forward.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Anna begins without personal freedom, burdened by a responsibility to her unsatisfying husband. Her fulfillment comes from her responsibility to her son. When she meets Vronsky when away from her son, she stays true to her responsibilities, but not for long. Vronsky's persistence causes Anna to seek personal freedom outside the confines of her drab marriage The more she indulges in this freedom, the more irresponsible she becomes. Once society notices these irresponsibility she is rejected and Anna loses her one source of prior fulfillment her son. Now, nearly free, Anna finds herself disgraced in Russian society. Her complete lack of responsibility backfires, and hinders her freedom by being shamed in the public eye. She clings more than ever to Vronsky, which pushes him further away. After becoming nearly psychotic, Anna commits suicide. Ultimately, too much freedom trapped Anna.
Levin begins with freedom, as he does not agree or adhere to much of society's expectations and therefore lives in the country. Levin feels a strong responsibility to his work, but feels unsatisfied (much like Anna) he feels a responsibility to find fulfillment which he believes that he can find in a wife. He therefore courts Kitty, but once they are married, Levin finds that he is not as satisfied as he had expected. Something is still missing. Levin remains responsible to his wife and work, for him, freedom "clicked" one day with the realization of faith. Staying responsible, freedom found Levin with patience.
"So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again... [and] for the first time... I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much life myself--like a brother, really--I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again."
If true meaning comes from the ability to say no, is true meaning synonymous with freedom? I believe that in Meursault’s shoes, freedom is the ability to be brutally sincere and independent of games that people play. Consistently throughout The Stranger, Meursault repeats his hatred for those who play games, such as he finds the man’s murder justified in the story where he hides his identity from his mother at the hotel. I cannot convict Meursault of being completely independent of society’s wishes, however, as he does seem to obey Raymond by writing the letter despite his earlier protests. These games range from simple lies from “I’m fine” irrelevant meanings that people attach to the absurd motions of life. For, Meursault truly seems to believe that the world is as meaningless to him as he is meaningless to the world. If life has no meaning, and freedom is meaning, can freedom exist in life?
Well, in a quote by Camus, “one lives for others, but only dies for oneself”, one may extrapolate that freedom comes from the moment of death where we live for ourselves alone in the presence of true meaning. Meursault seems to embrace this as he seems ready to live again when facing the guillotine. Perhaps this is why he thinks no one has the right to mourn his mother’s death, because she finally had a moment to live for herself which is a beautiful thing to him, a moment of true meaning, in this case, meaning being freedom.