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Longfellow's poem supports the idea that the physical bondage of an individual does not necessarily dictate that their subjectivity. The slave is beaten in the poem in a subjugated context from which there is no release. There is no direct path for freedom for the slave. He must endure what bondage represents for him. Yet, the dream of his freedom, a vision in which his own subjective is freed from its external condition is one in which there is total and absolute freedom. The desire for freedom is one that cannot be denied. Even in the last moments of consciousness, the slave dreams of a world in which he is free from the clutches of the institution of slavery, free from the whip, free from another's control. It is here where Longfellow's poem is the most convincing in that it suggests that there is a subjective consciousness that can exist devoid or outside of the physical condition that surrounds it. The subjective is the real. The external is the illusion. Longfellow's poem suggests that if one is committed to their own freedom, such a desire cannot be repressed even though physical bondage envelops a person for a great deal of time.
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