Dreams of Freedom

Dreams of Freedom

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Many say that the citizens make up the personality of a country and the United States had a distinct group of citizens that made up its personality. United States was one of the few colonies that didn't want status quo and saw to overturn that power. Along with that daring action however, one begin to ask if she was now the stranger in the body of politics. In comparing the film Purple Rose of Cairo and Billy Budd by Herman Melville one can have a concrete reality view of how it was to have a daring dream and how that dream ended up to be in the body of politics.

In the Purple Rose of Cairo, dreaming about freedom seems to be the central theme of the film. This movie within a movie shows one of the main characters, Tom Baxter once stepped off the screen, refuses to go back to the "movie world" causing everyone great distress. However, the reason that Tom wanted to stay in the real world is because he wanted the freedom while knowing that it was going to be a much harsher place. In the beginning, United States might have been like Tom because although US knew that being it's own country was going to take more responsibility than being a colony, the United States still wouldn't give up on fighting for its freedom. Tom Baxter was stranger in body of politics in that he didn't know how the real life worked even though he seemed like he was a man of real life; very much on how US looked like its own country but also was one time confused in its way of ruling with the "friendly" Articles of Confederation that eventually fell apart.

Tom Baxter and Gil Shepherd although may seem to be one and the same person, had different ideas within themselves with one wanting freedom and the other one control much so like the United States and Britain. Tom Baxter is the mirror image of Gil Shepherd or what Gil says "is his creation." What Gil suggests is exactly what the Great Britain believed in; Great Britain believed that United States was her creation, her colony. This act of control by both the British and Gil can be said to reflect the United States as it is like the reflection of Britain stepping out and asking for freedom.

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Likewise Tom who was trapped within the film, United States was trapped within the control of Britain.

If Tom was said to be the United States, then the actors in Tom's movie and the actors outside of the movie is the body of politics. Once Tom left the screen, the actors were immobilized, believing the fact that everything was doomed, that the show could not go on. These actors are compared to those who wanted who didn't have dreams and who thought being a colony would be the best decision, hence later called the "tories" by the patriots. Although Tom is parallel to the United States, the main female character at the same time is like the US because she also had dreams of freedom. She wanted something new something "real" like how the United States wanted to be their own country, which was much more "real" and "new" than being a colony of Britain who seemed to curtailed every part of her freedom. The husband of that lady was also like Britain, acting in control saying that she wouldn't be able to survive on her own which was what Britain said after the US won the Revolutionary Wars.

Friendship was a term used very often in the Articles of Confederation and Herm Melville saw it as a point of weakness as mentioned in his book Billy Budd. The Articles of Confederation was a contract written that was more of a framework of political friendship amongst states; section IV "to better secure and perpetuate mutual friendship..." Political Friendship was not a real friendship because these states saw themselves more as an individual rather than a country and in which they did not promote teamwork and the term itself was misleading. Without being able to band themselves together in times of attack, the states felt that they were always vulnerable to the outside and came to distrust the system of "political friendship" because the "team" was not there when help was needed. The Article of confederation tried an indirect method of calling all the states friends but the Constitution clearly states that there is no friendship but only central power and control within the democracy.

Political friendship didn't work because there was no central power and Melville criticized that point in his book Billy Budd. The story of Billy Budd plays out the transition from a bucolic world of simple values and innocent men to a cold, inhuman world dominated by harsh laws, violent wars, and industrial mechanization. Billy is the natural man destroyed by the rigidities of a civilized society that cannot accommodate his goodness and trust. Billy Budd was an innocent young man that couldn't understand the evil of the world and saw everyone as his friend and that eventually led to his downfall. When Melville wrote about Billy Budd, he must had America in mind because that's what America was. America was a young country that didn't understand the reality of the world and tried using the Article of Confederations calling everyone friends, which led to chaos. Billy Budd was also like a stranger in the body of the politics in that he had no idea where he came from or how old he was. He didn't seem to belong because he was too innocent. In comparing Billy Budd to the United States, Melville seems very critical of the naivety of United States from his ironic ending of Billy's death.

With Billy Budd being the stranger in the body of politics, the ship was the body of politics. In a sense, the various ships in the novel represent different types of societies: the Rights-of-Man symbolizes a place where individuals maintain their freedom. The Indomitable symbolizes society of mother country and colony, with the actions of a few characters standing up for freedom in general. It also represents a hierarchical world in which there was absolute control over mankind, much like how Britain controlled the United States without giving it any individuality. Meanwhile the Rights of Man, the merchant ship, is very much like the Articles of Confederation, with everyone rotating workloads and no central control. United States was more of the Rights of Man in that it promoted freedom and there was political fluidity within the country.

Billy Budd's innocence had a negative effect on him, but for the United States it allowed her to start anew as stated in her Declaration of Independence. In proclaiming her freedom, United States immediately became the stranger in the body of politics, much so like Tom Baxter in the Purple Rose of Cairo. However, each and everyone of us has a dream and the United States founding father had a dream of freedom and shared it with the rest of the citizens through its Articles of Confederation and Constitution..."Your dream in my dream."

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