Freedom Term Paper

This essay has a total of 1204 words and 6 pages.


This book was written in the middle to late twentieth century. Generally, this book dealt
with Indians living in East Africa. The book is set in native Tanzania where Vassanji was
raised after his family moved from his birthplace Nairobi. This book is a collection of
short stories that chronically move from the narrator’s early childhood until he returns
to his homeland years later to find that much has changed from his childhood.

There are many issues that are intertwined into the text that Vassanji incorporates to
relay his stories. Being a part of the lower class Indian community in Tanzania during
the 1950’s, there is much class struggle. There is an instance early in the book where
massive discrimination is evident in the book.

“Schools went through preparation and drill for the royal visit.” “But to my great
disappointment only the higher forms were allowed to welcome the princess.”

The narrator overcame this discrimination by working through the crowd and essentially got
a glimpse of the young queen. This was one of the more symbolic scenes in the book. The
narrator overcame oppression here on a small scale as he later will by leaving Africa and
going to a University in North America.

The market place called the “Mnuda” was a place of massive thievery and just not a good
place to go. However, many members of the “community” would go to the “Mnuda” to pick up
odds and ends. The point is that this is a low class society we are dealing with.

Later on there is a mention of green government trucks that randomly show up in the
streets of Tanzania during the night. Green government trucks just give the impression
that the government has something to fear if they are sending out “watchdog” trucks to
keep an eye on the demos or population. This example just shows the kind of totalitarian
government that was in place during the mid-twentieth century in this part of Africa.
Just a reminiscent of 1984 and the concept of “big brother ” mentioned in that novel. It
seems this type of ruling is in place around the narrator at this time.

The family of the narrator would go on to have their own lives. When the narrator
prepares for going to the University, he talks about his sisters already married. Typical
for the girls to get married and run a family. That was the females’ “job” here. Mamma
was always interested in getting her daughters into marriage.

“Don’t be choosy.” “It will be too late then.” “There is nothing like having a men of your own…”
The idea of the female of the family getting out, having a man, and having kids just was
the idea. Never any idea of a career or higher level education was consider throughout
the novel for these girls.

As for the narrator, he does go on to higher education. There is another case of
discrimination in the hands of the government. The narrator whom did have very
respectable grades in the local systems applies to the local university. He has
aspirations to go into Medicine. However, the government recommends him to go into
Agriculture, [not what we would call higher education] even though the narrator had “never
left the city except to go to a national park on a field trip.”

This is an attempt for the government to keep the Indian class down. Take the ones who
show promise and bright futures and use your governmental power to keep them down.
Agriculture is a “low” level form of making a living, especially compared to medicine.
This was more example of the belligerent’s discrimination that occurred in this area at
this time.

The narrator’s mother finally allows him to go to the States and into the California
Institute of Technology. Both a financial and emotion risk is taken by mother. She has
to come up with a thousand shillings for him to go and she is losing a son to a distant
place. Her faith in her son gives hope to not just the family, but also the reader. The
decision was pivotal to the life of the narrator. If this opportunity were wasted, then
the narrator’s potential would be deflated in two ways. One by missing this
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