Write a critical analysis of  "Freedom to the Slave" by Derozio.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Derozio once described his native and beloved India as "an eagle with its wings tied."  One way to critically analyze "Freedom to the Slave" is to see it as untying the wings of the eagle.  Derozio's poem is predicated on the idea that freedom is its own intrinsic good, an experience that cannot be replicated.  No matter how one might be compensated, the reality is that freedom is its own reward.  To be in a condition where one "knelt no more" and to look "above – The breath of heaven /Around him freshly blew" are experiences where the true notion of self are experienced.  Derozio presents freedom as its own good, something with its own intrinsic value.  To experience the same freedom as "winds and birds,and floods," is a reality that no one can duplicate or replicate in any other setting.

The patriotism that Derozio emphasizes throughout his work for India and the human predicament is seen in this poem.  Enslavement and limitation, what Derozio refers to as "the chain a tyrant gave,"  is not any way to live.  While freedom might be complex and intricate with all that must be navigated, it is shown to be an essential part of the human experience.  Humanity is shown to gain more dignity when there is freedom in one's life.  It is in this light where freedom and autonomy are essential to the poem and its overall message of how it is essential to defining one's happiness.  Through such a rendering, the wings of the eagle are no longer tied as individuals possess more in their being due to freedom.

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