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Bondage

How the theme correlates to The Great Gatsby and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
by

Ameena Enifeni

on 17 September 2013

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Transcript of Bondage

The Great Gatsby
and
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas.

By Ameenat Enifeni
In The Great Gatsby :
Bondage
Bondage is the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control. The state of being bound by society, another person or something paranormal. Whether it is mental, emotional or physical , the characters in both books are victims of some form of bondage/captivity.
Society
1920s America was much different than America today.
Women were considered second-class citizens and less intelligent than men.
In the novel :
"I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."
This comment was made by Daisy about her young daughter. It reflects her and 1920s American society's mindset.
This pertains to the theme because Daisy's comment is a product of her society. Her mind is a slave to the idea that women are less-than and incompetent to think.
Love
The novel is about Gatsby and his attempt to reinvent himself to reclaim his love, Daisy.
However, it is an attempt to win back the love of his life, Daisy
His desperate love is what ultimately caused his untimely death.
Love, in The Great Gatsby, is the slave master and Gatsby is the slave.
And he is so much infatuated and obsessed with Daisy that when they reunite and rekindle, he fires all of his servants to avoid gossip. Also, when Daisy kills Myrtle in a drunken state, Gatsby takes the blame.
He threw elaborate parties as a public display of wealth, as a way to get his name around, so that people can see and speak of him. All so Daisy will hear of Gatsby and love him again.
Fatal Mistake!
Because:
1. Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby

2. Myrtle's distraught husband shoots
Jay Gatsby while Gatsby is in his pool.
His demise was brought by his undying and desperate love for Daisy Buchanan.
Although he has wanted to be rich since his rural days in N. Dakota, the quest for Daisy's affection was a driving force in his acquisition of wealth.

Love pertains to bondage because Gatsby's love controlled his life. His reputation of an enormously rich and decadent lifestyle was created by him in an attempt to win over Daisy. His death was caused by the woman whom his life revolved around. He was a prisoner to/of love.
In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass:
Slavery
This narrative is of the life of a man who lived during the time of slavery in America.
The most interesting things Douglass talks about is how the slave owners mentally enslaved their slaves as well.
Family is a potential support system and a solid foundation for anyone.
During that time, a baby born into slavery could be sold or moved by his/her slave owner.
As a result, majority of slaves did not truly know their parents.
"Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of her death with the much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger."
Douglass only saw his mother at night when she would walk from her plantation twelve miles away. He believes that separation in families was meant to prevent those unbreakable familial bonds.
"He was immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus, without a moment's warning, he was snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death."
This scene shows the frequency that slaves were moving around between plantations.
It seems that death would be a better option because their souls can finally be free, whereas when they are detached from family there is a void.
Slavery is bondage but the reason these examples were chosen was to show how slave masters desecrated the meaning and value of family as well as keeping the slaves illiterate as a way to control and suppress.
What I found to be most profound in this narrative was when Mr. Auld chastises his wife for teaching Douglass to read.
"Whilst I was saddened by the thought of losing the aid of my kind mistress, I was gladdened by the invaluable instruction which, by the merest accident, I had gained from my master. Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read. The very decided manner with which he spoke, and strove to impress his wife with the evil consequences of giving me instruction, served to convince me that he was deeply sensible of the truths he was uttering. It gave me the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence on the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read."
The valuable thing that Douglass learned that day was the value of education. His master unknowingly taught him that education is freedom. The "utmost confidence" is indeed the ability to think and to be free.
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