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Essay on the Search for Freedom in Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour

Search for Freedom in The Story of an Hour

In the early 1900s, marriage was comparable to a master-and-slave relationship. The role of the woman in the marriage was minimal. The woman’s place was in the house, caring for the children, cleaning the house, and doing other “womanly” tasks. Chained to their husbands, marriage became prison to many women; the only means of breaking free from these bonds being the death of a husband. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard lives for an hour, experiencing rebirth into freedom and death when that freedom is lost.

While sitting downstairs, Mrs. Mallard grieves over the loss of her husband, and over her new-found freedom. His death tears out everything from right underneath her very own feet. Dependent and heartbroken, everything she relies on her husband for has now become her responsibility. Weeping “with sudden, wild abandonment….,” Mrs. Mallard allows her emotions over her husband’s death to flow freely, thus…

Free Will in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

Free Will versus Predestination in A Clockwork Orange

Burgess raises the oppositions of free will and predestination in various of his novel, A Clockwork Orange. The author describes his own faith as alternating between residues of Pelagianism and Augustinianism. Pelagianism denies that God has predestined, or pre-ordained, or planned, our lives. A consequence of this is that salvation is effectively within human power (as God hasn’t set it down for each of us, it’s within our control), which eventually leads to a denial of original sin. Refutation of this eventually came from Augustine, who (a) fiercely upheld the doctrine of original sin, and (b) defended the orthodox doctrine of predestination from the implicit paradox with free choice of salvation (ie., while God has created us, and effectively writes the whole story of each of our lives, the ultimate choice between accepting or rejecting his salvation is ours) with a claim that yes, our nature is laid down when he creates us, but he effectively looks the other way (a “left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing” scenario) when it comes to that ultimate decision, so that the decision of salvation (though not the absolute power over it that Pelagius described) is ours. Or, at least, that’s how Burgess saw it.

In the history of the church the classic controversy concerning the nature of the Fall and its effects is that waged by Augustine at the beginning of the 5th century against the advocates of the Pelagian heresy. The latter taught that Adam’s sin affected only himself and not the human race as a whole, that every individual is born free from sin and capable in his own power of living a sinless life, and that there had even been persons who had succeeded in doing so. The controversy and its implications may be studied with profit in Augustine’s anti-Pelagian writings. Pelagianism, with its affirmation of the total ability of man, came to the fore again in the Socinianism of the 16th and 17th centuries, and continues under the guise of modern humaninstic religion. A halfway position is taken by the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that what man lost through the Fall was a supernatural gift of original righteousness that did not belong properly to his being as man but was something extra added by God (donum superadditum), with the consequence that the Fall left man in his natural state as created (in puris naturalibus): he has suffered a negative rather than a positive evil; deprivation rather than depravation.

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