How does George Bernard Shaw act as as a social thinker in his essay "Freedom"?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In George Bernard Shaw's essay on freedom, he puts forward his opinions on making people in society think more deeply about their commonly-held beliefs and motives. In it he discusses his need to make society less comfortable about its complacency by challenging their 'comfort zone' with his socio-political thinking. He put his thoughts into stories and plays - and added a bit of humor - the satire was on the people who were enjoying the works. He incorporated uncompromising comment as a social thinker on ideas such as the evil effects of social injustice and poverty,ideas that he saw in his diminshing social circumstances as a child in Dublin.In 1882 he attended a lecture in London by Henry George and was at once persuaded by it's sociological ethic to become a socialist. These are the  thoughts which drive his unforgiving criticisms in his essay on Freedom.

pholland14's profile pic

pholland14 | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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Shaw, in his essay on freedom, looks at how governments and employers enslave those under them for their own benefit.  Shaw examines how we have certain things we need, such as food, clothing, shelter, and sleep, but he wonders why we work eight to fourteen-hour days in order to achieve this.  He states that in nature it is not so; animals such as bees enjoy the direct fruits of their labor, unless man intervenes.  He wonders why man cannot enjoy the benefits of his own work.  He also criticizes government, in that government encourages this hard work.  He states that our "freedom" is really "slavery," while people are not chattel slaves, they are not free to decide what to do with what little of their day they have left after they take care of necessities such as eating and sleeping.  He calls wage slavery and a ballot where all the candidates are essentially the same as flawed.  This gained him praise from others on the Left, but the status quo looked at him as a troublemaker.  

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