The word “freedom” is subject to various degrees of interpretation in the sense that it can be used in more than one context. One definition of freedom is the idea of having your own sense of self without the control of others. On the other hand, a lack of freedom is the idea of feeling trapped and smothered in a situation one has no control over. Freedom can relate to school, relationships, or even within oneself. A lack of freedom can have nothing to do with other people but with the ball and chain that can be placed on by oneself. Of course the outside world will be involved, but the pain of feeling trapped comes from the frustration that fills one’s soul. A lack of freedom can result from a twisted circle of other events and other people. In the novel Beloved and the film Secrets and Lies, the enslavement that Roxanne and Denver feel result from their mothers’ possessive love. Sethe and Cynthia both have horrific pasts, leaving them in captivity and causing them to have unhealthy relationships with their daughters. Sethe and Cynthia love the only way the know how, possessively and dependently, causing Denver and Roxanne’s mental enslavement.
In the film Secrets and Lies, both Cynthia and her twenty-one year-old daughter Roxanne, live a life of captivity. Cynthia’s is due to her unexplained past, while Roxanne’s is in result of her overbearing mother. Cynthia’s lack of freedom does not result from another’s actions, but from her own past. The trauma and lack of love she has experienced, has been blocked out and instead of dealing with it, she lives off of the attention of others. When she meets her daughter Hortense, whom she had given up for adopt...
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...or a life as it is now under Beloved’s control, she chooses a life for herself. By having support for the first time, freeing both of her daughters, and restoring her sense of self, Sethe is on her way to a life of happiness and trust, rather than dependence on others.
Although their backgrounds are completely different, both Cynthia and Sethe battle the same demons. Their pasts have consumed them and dependence on others, or complete isolation is the only way they know how to deal with it. This causes the mental enslavement of Roxanne and Denver. In order to overcome their emotional scars, they must learn to stand on their own two feet. Only when they do this will they be able to release their daughters, and restore their own self worth and freedom for all.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
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