Essay on Liberty. Why Is It so Important for Everybody?

Liberty is needed for one to be truly independent without oppression from society. Whether it be on a global scale, liberty from your parents, or your significant other, liberty or the lack thereof is everywhere. Sometimes, reaching liberty is freeing, and is often does good, but it’s not always like this. After one has lived under control for so long, even imagining life differently can be difficult. Many times it can be so strong that one does not know how to manage it and can lose control. Other times, reaching liberty and then simply losing it can be overwhelming. Everyone has a longing for liberty but the change after attaining it can often be overpowering.

“The Story of an Hour” written by Kate Chopin is about a woman with heart problems who’s miserable in her marriage. She gets euphoric when she finds out that her husband has died and she’s no longer tied to the marriage, she’s free. When Ms.Mallard first realizes her new-found liberty she’s described as, “...drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.” This metaphor shows the way she feels looking through the window knowing she was no longer captive at the hands of her husband. All she can think about is her future ahead with,” all sorts of days that would be her own”(Chopin 2). Louise gets consumed by the feeling of exhilaration, so much so that she can almost not handle it. In this state, she’s described as having a feverish triumph in her eyes, and [carrying] herself unwittingly like a goddess of victory”(Chopin 2). She becomes too fixated on her freedom, consequently, her heart goes into shock when she discovers her husband is not dead and she dies. Louise became so engulfed with the idea and hope for freedom that her life ended in despair

Another story which highlights how gaining liberty does not always end well is “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut a cautionary tale about equality in which no one can be better or worse than anyone else. When 14-year old buff genius escapes out of prison, the first thing he does is name himself emperor, this shows how when someone who has been deprived of freedom for so long obtains freedom, he has a need to get as much as he can before he is locked away. He says,” Now watch what I can become!” before tearing his handicap harnesses like,” wet tissues”(Vonnegut 3-4). Because he was restrained for so long, he becomes so strong, even his handicaps couldn’t contain him, which he knew. Just like his handicaps, he couldn’t contain his liberty. He is in a state of bliss while dancing with his new named Empress. They dance in,” an explosion of joy and grace…laws of the land abandoned”(Vonnegut 4). His unrestrained freedom shown when in the emperor and emperor are leaping higher and higher,” it became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it”(Vonnegut 4). Then kissing the ceiling represent the heights they can reach. This moment of ecstasy quickly goes downhill though. Because of the way Harrison approaches his freedom, he briskly loses it too. Instead of thinking it through and hiding away, Harrison goes out into the televised public to assert his authority which leads to his death. While,” beau trailing gravity with love and pure will”, the Handicap General comes in and shoots him before he even realizes what’s going on. This shows how he was so overwhelmed and taken in by his new life as an emperor, he doesn’t stop and think of the consequences that awaited him.

Even though liberty is an imminent factor of life, and even though the far majority of people go through life with paying special attention to it since it’s been there their whole lives, it’s not something that is certain or promised. In “The Story of an Hour” Louise dies from the heartbreak of realizing her liberty left her. In “ Harrison Bergeron” Harrison who made himself Emperor gets murdered when blinded by liberty. In both of these stories, possession of liberty ended in being too much which led to the inevitable destruction of both the main characters.


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