The Forbidden Fruit: The Concept Of Freedom

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The Forbidden Fruit: Freedom
This great country was founded on the core principal of freedom. It was an untainted land where people could start new lives and believe what they want to, free from authoritarianism. But what is freedom? Freedom is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”(Dictionary.com). The question remains, are we truly free? And does society restrict true freedom? The evidence suggests that society and society 's standards do restrict freedom. Society merely offers a somewhat attractive but unfulfilling alternative, not freedom itself. Throughout American history, as seen in America’s literature, society and societal standards have created an illusion of freedom. Freedom
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The Puritans came to America so that they could worship freely and without persecution. Many people, however, overlook the fact that the Puritans were extremely critical of people, particularly non-Puritans. You not only had to be Puritan, but you also had to follow their “puritanical” societal standards as well. People were not encouraged to think freely. The Puritan society was not a free society; rather it was an alternative society. This became a problem for Hester Prynne. Hester was seen as an adulterer. She had broken one of the biggest taboos of society. She could have been put to death for it. Society decided to make an example of her and shun her instead. She had to be a victim of judgment for the rest of her life. Hester had to wear the Scarlet Letter, which signified the crime she had committed. Attaching this stigma to Hester restricted her freedom in the new world. Hester Prynne felt that “It [the scarlet letter] had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself” (Hawthorn 37.) The scarlet letter restrained her ability to be truly free. Society had taught people that the Scarlet Letter was a stigma, and that she should be judged for it. Judgment itself is a barrier that restricts people’s ability to act, speak, or think what they want. These aspects of judgment can still be seen in modern day …show more content…
Members of society that were striving to gain independence from Great Britain were told to be as productive as possible for the greater good of society. This can be seen in The Autobiography of Ben Franklin. In this autobiography, he mentions how order is a necessary part of society. One of his major ideas for productivity is that “the precept of Order requiring that every part of my business should have it’s allotted time” (Franklin 82.) In the diagram it shows how everyone should most productively run his or her day. It seems like society is deliberately trying to dictate the average person. For example Franklin says that every day someone should ask himself or herself “what good should I do today” (82). His thinking was that everyone should abide by a very strict schedule that is based around the workday. Although this may seem productive, it is actually restricting personal freedom. Contributing to society is a win-lose situation. On one hand contributing makes you an active, respected member, but at what cost? It may prevent one from perusing something that he or she might want to do. This is especially true in a revolutionary setting. It shows how and why many loyalists were persecuted in America. It was either Britain’s way, or the new American way. There was no middle ground. It is ironic that a country based on the idea of

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