Dr. Ellis/ EN 101
October 1, 2013
Freedom is something that many Americans take for grant it because of the fact it is a fundamental ideal that our country is found upon; however freedom exists because imprisonment exists in many other parts of the world. In meditation this week and in the midst of a government shut down, I realized that one couldn’t exist without the other. Freedom and imprisonment are both themes that can be seen in Thomas Lynch’s poem “Liberty”, John Ciardi’s poem “Suburban”, and Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”.
In the poem by Lynch, “Liberty”, the speaker has a negative tone filled with anger as he feels imprisoned and forced to act a certain way because of the society he lives in. He uses the normal and vital action of urinating to show how he is conformed to societal standards of humanity. The author begins the poem, “some nights I go out and piss on the front lawn” (Lynch Line 1) to demonstrate the internal thoughts he has. By doing this is he not conforming to societal norms of going to the bathroom in a bathroom, but using his freedom to go wherever he prefers. The words “gentility and envy” (line 15) are two opposing words that reflect the internal argument within him. Gentility represents the elegance and etiquette to conform to societal standards, while envy represents the resentment he has to these same standards. It is evident that the speaker feels imprisoned in the free society he lives in.
“Suburban” by Ciardi another poem, where the speaker is conveying an emotion of feeling trapped and imprisoned in a free suburban society. As the conversation is occurring between Mrs. Friar and Mr. Ciardi, the audience knows the speaker’s true feelings. The poem is written with a sense of irony as Mr. Ciardi restrains himself form speaking his true thoughts on the situation Mrs. Friar called about. This thought of being trapped in free society is an oxymoron, but still prevalent in both poems.
The theme of imprisonment is also evident in Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado”. The story begins with the main character Montresor vowing for revenge on Fortunato. The narrator, Montresor, tricks Fortunato into believing they are in the same clan and to follow him to the catacombs under ground. Although Fortunato assumed they were friends, Montresor had a devious plan the whole time. Once under ground, in a dark, eerie, quiet place, Montresor entombed Fortunato. He basically buried Fortunato alive, after getting him drunk and chaining him. Imprisonment in this short story is shown more literally than figuratively.
Meditation is what some people do to relieve stress or just find their inner peace. This week meditation allowed me to be free with my inner self. The meditation began with a chant, which was the first chant I have ever done at zen. This chant focused my racing thoughts then provided me with a calm as the seating began. I though about how we live in a “free country”. I also wondered about the people in other countries around the world that are imprisoned by their own governments. Everyday that I wake up, I have the choice and freedom to do something, like attend Zen, but at the same time others don’t even have the freedom to leave their house or even read. Even though I had the freedom to let my mind wander, I was physically imprisoned in that small room and in the position I was sitting in. Meditation requires stillness for a long period of time, which is something difficult for me, like most people.
Although the two poems demonstrate imprisonment in a free society, I believe that at certain times imprisonment can be felt anywhere, however freedom is a feeling that is a more rare and less of a common occurrence.