The Interactions and Effects of the Varying Sides of Freedom

May 1, 2017

The basic foundations of freedom were governed by the right to speak, act, or think without any hindrance or restraints. Over time, freedom has evolved into something much greater than that. Freedom can be interpreted as the ability to succeed, the capacity to find importance, and the motive to pursue all dreams. Two distinct sides are often made when referring to freedom. Those who are gifted with it and all of its advantages, and those that are not as fortunate. However, the lack of freedom is quite vast and filled with a range of severities. Some may physically be locked away from the outside world, while others find themselves lost, with no role to fill in society. On the other hand, free people often thrive socially and have stable lives. These opposing standards of freedom and the treatment of those without it can be represented in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and the poem, “Caged Bird,” by Maya Angelou through the incorporation of main characters.


Dill in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and the caged bird in the poem, “Caged Bird,” by Maya Angelou are included to display the lack of freedom and the unrelenting desire for it. Throughout the novel, Dill struggles to act appropriately in the outside world. Most of this concern stems from the weakness within his family. Dill proclaims that he met his father and ‘“helped the engineer for a while”’ (Lee 40). Jem caught this bluff instantaneously, knowing that Dill was not close with his father. However, through Dill’s false statement, it reveals his yearning to have close family bonds. Furthermore, by shielding his true back story and being unsatisfied with himself, it verifies his lack of independence and freedom. Also, his need for liberty is shown here, as he has no position in his community and lies to be like those that are free. Dill’s struggle to find importance urges him to flee from his guardians. When speaking about his parents to Scout he mocks, “You’re not a boy. Boys get out and play baseball with other boys, they don’t hang around the house worryin’ their folks” (Lee 162). Specifications in the quote like “worryin’ their folks” highlights that Dill is truly not wanted. In this instance, Dill is presented to be hidden from freedom, as he has no one and nowhere to go; he is like a lost cause in society. His struggle is summarized when he ponders “maybe he doesn’t have anywhere to run off to…” (Lee 163). Although he is referring to Boo Radley, he makes this assumption as it relates to himself and his motivation to be unrestricted. Similar to Dill, the caged bird in the poem “Caged Bird” has no liberty yet dreams of having it. The poem writes “The caged bird sings / with a fearful trill / of unknown things / but longed for still” (Angelou l. 31-34). Phrases like “unknown things” demonstrate that the caged bird is locked from freedoms as he cannot view all of the outside world (Angelou l. 33). Furthermore, the poem continues by illustrating that the caged bird envisions the things he is held from. This proves his desire to be free. Both Dill and the Caged Bird are used to represent lack of liberty and the determination for it.


In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and the poem, “Caged Bird,” by Maya Angelou free people and animals like Scout and the Free bird are used to reveal the opposing treatments of those different from themselves.  To contradict Dill, Scout is seen as free in many instances in the novel. Throughout her childhood, Scout was filled with support from those around her, especially her father, Atticus. After reading to Scout, Atticus stated ‘“but I have a feeling that if you tell Miss Caroline we read every night she’ll get after me”’ (Lee 35). This quote proves that Atticus puts himself at risk simply to help Scout. Scout is set up from all angles for success, validating her freedom. Scout is able to find her role in society and make the most out of it. Despite Scout’s freedom, she still treats Dill with extreme kindness and love. Scout loved the summer as there was everything good to eat, “but most of all, summer was Dill” (Lee 38). This quote displays that just because Dill is different from Scout, she does not neglect him. In fact, she does the opposite, she’s excited to see him. In contrast to Scout’s behavior, the free bird disregards the caged bird, as the caged bird is not gifted with freedom. The poem states “The free bird thinks of another breeze / and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees / and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn / and he names the sky his own” (Angelou l. 23-26). This quote proves the free bird’s ridged and stubborn attitude as it thinks of nothing but itself.  Sayings in the quote like “The free bird thinks of another breeze” shows that it does not even recognize the struggle of those without liberty. While Scout treats those without freedom with care, the free bird proves to do the opposite.


In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and the poem, “Caged Bird,” by Maya Angelou central characters are used to present freedom and the lack thereof, along with the feelings towards those that are not free. Often, fortunate people are found to be conceited. They are not capable of envisioning the lives of the people that are not as lucky as themselves. To break these sturdy barriers, there are special people who respect those without freedom. However, the world lacks enough people that can look past these social differences. Freedom should not be a social obstacle in society, yet rather a common word, capable of being overshadowed, with no strong implications.






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