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Hannah Randall

My Jim Final Essay


November 22, 2015

Liberty is the right to be free from oppressive limitations that are forced upon one
by an authoritative figure. Our founding documents are what define the rights of
American people. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among those are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (Jefferson 7-10). Liberty is
a right that one has and can not be taken away by another. Nancy Rawles would agree
with Helen Schulman that freedom is impractical in the novel, My Jim.
Helen Schulman claims that freedom and liberty in the novel My Jim, is
impractical for Sadie and her family. Emancipation feels a lot like slavery (Schulman
16). Although Sadie and her family are freed at a point they are still held captive by their
lack of opportunities to live a better life. Freed slaves at the time had no place to live, no
many, and still no respect. Emancipation did not make Sadie and her family feel free
because they still faced the struggle to live. Schulman is claiming that Sadie will never
be free from her past experiences, to Sadie freedom is impractical.
Nancy Rawles would agree with critic Helen Schulman that for Sadie liberty
seems impractical in the novel. The wars over long time ago but I still aint tastes my
freedom (Sadie 155). Although the war is over and the Emancipation Proclamation has
been enacted Sadie still does not taste freedom, she does not feel equal or free. A part
of liberty is the right to feel equal. When we colored gots a price on our heads some
white folks treat us better than they do today (Sadie 156). Rawles shows that Sadie is

considered free but still is not seen as equal, she feels like she is being treated worse
than she was when she was a slave. Rawles shows how liberty is seen as impractical to
Sadie, But we just trying to live to live till our freedom thats all (Sadie 155). Sadie
keeps waiting to the day when she can feel free. Although slavery was abolished and
Sadie is free she never reaches a point to where she can actually feel free. Schulman
was correct in believed that Freedom was impractical for Sadie in the novel My Jim.
In Nancy Rawles novel, My Jim freedom is impractical to Sadie. Sadie was
waiting for the day that she felt free, and it never came. I think that liberty in the novel
was more of a sense of hope for the slaves. I think that the slaves dreamed of this big
change for so long that when it finally came it was not up to their expectations. Liberty
today is considered a right, that everyone is expected to obtain. For Sadie liberty was a
hope to be free.