True Freedom is Non-Existent
Freedom is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint” (Dictionary.com). It is an important human right that we value as humans however total freedom is only a mirage. A person is free to do only what society seems as acceptable. Jean Jacques Rousseau once stated “Man is born free, and yet everywhere he is in chains”. This statement boldly depicts that as humans we are born free but that freedom is hindered when we are faced with reality that total freedom is a mirage. We live by society’s rules we already have limited freedom, since there are laws and regulations which everyone lives. When failed to abide by these rules there are consequences that follow for those who do not conform to society’s rules. Though the novel, “The Outsiders” and the film “Dead Poets Society” are two different stories they excellently defy ones freedom. The texts show that one is born free but they are bound by the chains of society, causing true liberty to not exist. This is depicted through the characters individuality, laws and institutions that are set in place and the consequences of their choice. Our freedom as to who we want to be as individuals are limited because we are society sets a bar on expectations to live by. Many people want to live an original life, but when it comes to being a part of society there is a limit set on how much individualism one is allowed to have. This is clearly shown in the novel “The Outsider” Meursault is his own individual who lives for himself and does not conform to society’s rules and for that he is seen as indifferent. He does not Stephens2
get attached to people on an emotional level, and interacts with people when he chooses to or if he has to. Meursault is judged by people of society because of his individuality to be indifferent and detached. In society when one is different, they are judged and rather seen as strange. At the hearing Meursault says “the investigators had learned that I had “shown insensitivity” the day of Maman’s funeral…He asked if I felt any sadness that day… it was hard for me to tell him what he wanted to know”( The Outsiders,95). This quote shows how society negatively judged Meurauslt for his actions without even getting to understand why he did what he did. This quote also shows that there is a boundary on how much indifference one can have to society before being judged for that action. For him choosing not to cry at his mom’s funeral played an important role in his court hearing that has nothing to do with the murder he committed. It shows Meursault’s distinct and different character shows that he is not totally free to make whatever choices he wants to because that freedom is hindered when society has a set standard on how one should act. Similarly, in “Dead Poets Society” it is made evident that one is not free, since a person is free when they live by while obeying society’s guidelines. Mr. Keating an English teacher for Weldon gives his students a new perspective in life to follow their own dreams and ideas. When the students begin to show their individualism, they are judged by people of society such as parents and peers because there is already a standard set on how they should live. Neil Perry, a member of Dead Poets Society chooses to do pursue his dream of being an actor, instead of being by his father’s rules to just focus on school to be a doctor. He is then limited of his freedom to be his own person when his father told him that he cannot be an actor. Neil says “I just talked to my father. He is making me quit the play at Henley Hall. Acting is everything to Stephens3
me. He doesn’t know… He’s planning the rest of my life doe me… He never asked me what I want” (Dead Poets Society). This quote shows that Neil is not free because his father does not want him to act and because of that he his chained at the end of the day to what his father...
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