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 American Literature

Final Project Example: Freedom

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One characteristic that is a huge part of the American culture is freedom. Peoples desire for freedom from persecution or oppression is what layed the foundation for our country to be founded. Throughout time people have come to America to recieve the freedom that we are so proud of. Despite this one has to wonder if the people who came to this country, and even the people born within it, really get freedom. Is America really the land of the free?

American literature often deals with with freedom. Sometimes it is more obvious in certain works than in others, but in my view it is present in a great many American literary works. As I have read through some of the more well known works I have noticed that the characters in them, each expirienced America's "freedom," in different ways, some positive, and others negative. As I have read about the lives of each character, this thought came to mind,"Is the freedom, so treasured by all Americans, expirienced by all Americans?". Evidently not. Each author must have felt diferently about freedom, because they had their characters expirience freedom in different ways. Some had unlimited freedom, others had a little freedom, and others had none at all.

To present the idea I have explained above in my bulletin board, i would first have the title,"Destination: America's Freedom," at the very top. Then I would have a ship right in the middle of the board. The ship would represent the "journey" to America, journey meaning the effort put forth by each character to achieve freedom. All around this ship I would have tickets with the characters name on them, and the characters picture by it. On each ticket would be where the character was coming from,(their situation before they tried for freedom),where they were going,(how they ended up), and the cost of the ticket,(the sacrifices made, what was lost, or what efforts were made to get to freedom. I will describe five of the tickets on my board that best model my theme.

One ticket would belong to Benjamin Franklin. The plave Franklin left was a place of oppression or expectations, put on him by his father and brother. His destination was a place of liberty, where he could do what he wanted to do, be independant, successful, and famous. The cost of the ticket was not very high, it consisted of the courage to run away and the stength to hang on. Franklin's trip was very successful.

Frederick Douglass also has a ticket on my board. Douglass came from a place of slavery, where he was unbelievably mistreated and dehumanized. His destination was a life of freedom from slavery in the north, and fame as he worked for the freedom of other slaves. Douglass' ticket had a great cost, he had to endure beatings from attempts to run away, the extreme dicontent of being a prisoner, and he had to have the courage and strength in order to succeed. At first America held no freedom for Douglass, but he did recieve it later.

Another ticket would have Ruth Hall's name on it. Ruth came from a place of abandonment, poverty, and abuse from her family. There was a bright spot in this place however; her marriage to Harry, and the birth of her children. Even so, she did have to move on. Her destination was a life of independence, where she had friends, and was able to give her girls a happy life. Ruth's ticket also cost a great deal, the loss of her husband and first born child, she had to live in poverty, she was forced to let one of her remaining two daughters live with her horrible in-laws for awhile, and she had to endure abuse, and ridicule from family, and work day and night. At first America made it hard for Ruth to succeed, but she perservered and won.

Alexandra Bergson came from a place of poorness and hard work on crops that failed continually. She went to a place of a huge, rich, successful farm. Although she succeeded with the farm, I think that what Alexandra payed for the ticket, was not worth what she got. She lost her favorite brother,Emil, and her dear friend, Marie, to murder, and in a way she lost her other two brothers because they were selfish and stopped talking to her. I don't think Alexandra was truly happy with where she ended up, making the cost of the ticket, not worth it, Alexandra had only partial freedom.

The last ticket I will describe belongs to Lutie Johnson. This is the most tragic ticket of all on my board. Lutie wanted to leave her place of poverty and give her son, Bub, a life free from crime, dead ends, and discrimination. She bought an unbelieveably costly ticket. It cost her hard work, poor living conditions. two attacks by two men, and great emotional suffering. What's most tragic about this is that Lutie never got anywhere on this ticket, her boat sank. She lost Bub in the confusion, and she had to go somewhere with the same conditions she tried to leave. America was in no way free for Lutie.

That is what my board would look like. Hopefully it represented the fact that America's freedom is not freedom, at least in the same degree, for everyone.