February 14, 2013
The three works written by Poe, Lynch, and Ciardi communicate a sense of freedom that the characters feel. They are granted this freedom at the expense of themselves, others, and their actions. The dialogue in these works establishes the limitations that their autonomy brings them.
In the short story, The Cast of Amontillado, written by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator’s freedom is brought about by the murder of Fortunato. His freedom is then restricted because he has committed such a crime. In the opening lines he states, “The thousand injuries I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge,” (1062) this quote foreshadows the events to come. The narrator is communicating to the readers that he will be freed of the hate once he commits his revenge. The narrator shows this when he says “a wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (1062). This quote shows how the narrator views revenge. He believes that allowing himself to center on the hatred for Fortunato, and the impurities that he has committed the revenge will come easy because he will be able to allow himself not to feel “as such to him who has done the wrong.” Holding this hatred and revenge inside restrains the narrator and once he has vengeance he feels free.
In the poem “liberty” written by Thomas Lynch, the speaker exclaims, “I go out and piss on the front lawn as a form of freedom-liberty from porcelain and plumbing and the great beyond” (538). He communicates to us that his freedom is felt only by pissing because it is hard to feel free when he is “encumbered” by the suburbs. He feels restrained and pissing gives him relief and a rush because he can “do it anywhere, and do whenever.” He uses peeing to free himself from suburban life. The speaker’s peeing is a symbol for the release of the other restraints in his life such as the burden of his ex wife or criticisms from his community. The speaker chooses peeing on his front lawn to let go of everything that he holds inside, literally and figuratively. He frees himself as he pees because he lets go of his worries that are holding him back.
“Suburbs” written by John Ciardi is a humorous poem that light-heartedly makes fun of suburban living. The speaker has a phone call with a neighbor where they speak back and forth on behalf of his dog’s excrements. The speaker is restrain by the judgments and the lines that divide neighbors. He says “I bore the turd and buried it till the glorious resurrection when even these suburbs shall give up their dead.” This is showing that the speaker is giving up his limitations and he is not thinking about what others believe. He is doing what he wants and is happy with it.
In the three works by Ciardi, Lynch, and Poe the narrator or speakers have constrains that are controlling them. Once they deal with and overcome these constraints they have a sense of freedom and autonomy from the things that were once holding them back. The freedom expressed in this short story and the poems are similar to the freedom felt by the children I helped while partaking in community service in high school. These children I worked with came from difficult family situations and were placed in safe homes where they were not scared to be themselves. They could start living their lives unlike previously when they were living in fear and hurting from emotional and physical pain that was brought onto them by their loved ones. These children were able to overcome their limitations and be free of their pain and fear.