Before we analyze the difference between a “slave in form” and a “slave in fact” I believe we must establish what each term represents.
Everyone, in one aspect or another, is a “slave in form”. This is a sense of voluntary slavery, or a slavery of necessity. Even though Fredrick Douglas had become a freeman, he still had to labor for a salary in order to maintain himself. This method of being an employee, of being a slave for yourself in return for a steady income, is a “slave in form”. He realized that he still had to work for things in life, but by being his own master he could decide who he worked for and what he did.
A “slave in fact” is the direct opposite of a “slave in form,” and is very straight forward in meaning. A “slave in fact” is just that, a slave. We can infer this when he says “the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact” showing us his transformation away from involuntary servitude and into one of freedom.
While similar in appearance, have experience being a “slave in fact”, Fredrick Douglas was grateful to become a “slave in form” because it meant he was his own master, and he worked for no one but himself.
Besides all being dead authors, Fredrick Douglas, Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson were all staunch believes that the individual should be able to actualize his or her own potential through autonomic means.
Perhaps the one most appreciate of his freedom having had to earn it, Fredrick Douglas believed that freedom was something you worked for, but was obtainable for anyone. “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” One has to work hard to both earn and maintain the freedom they are in possession of, less they fall into servitude of others in one way or another.
Ralph Waldo Emerson had a more conceptual idea of freedom. Noting that one “do[es] not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” inspires in it the nature of trail blazing, the freedom of exploring and evolving where no one has before. In this facet, one is truly free from all constraints and expectations, as there is nothing you can safely assume in uncharted territory.
The most curious of the three, Walt Whitman is a very free individual when it comes to spirit. Always a lover, Whitman finds freedom in nature. “You settled your head athwart my hips and gently turned over upon me,And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my barestript heart,And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet.” In the freedom to experience others one can truely free themselves, as Whitman opens up in nature to the reader as they fuse together into something bigger.
One of the first references to nature in The American Scholar by Emmerson seems to almost carry the overarching concept of Leaves of Grass within it. “By and by, [the mind] finds how to join two things, and see in them one nature; then three, then three thousand; and so, tyrannized over by its own unifying instinct, it goes on tying things together, diminishing anomalies, discovering roots running under ground, whereby contrary and remote things cohere, and flower out from one stem.” In Leaves of Grass, the reader is urged to become one with nature, to throw off the bindings of society and its expectations in favor of a more primal and sensory appreciative life style. Emmerson echoes this, urging the listener to discover how everything in the world is marvelously intertwined, citing nature as his proof in its immutability.
From this outlook of nature around one, Emmerson then turns to the nature within the individual. He expands on his nature theme, noting that “[natures] laws are the laws of his own mind. Nature then becomes to him the measure of his attainments. So much of nature as he is ignorant of, so much of his own mind does he not yet possess.” In that in not knowing nature, man does not know himself. So to better understand himself, man must go into nature and take it in. this is very similar to Whitman’s’ opinion of nature; utter immersion. Both men believe that in order to obtain self-fulfillment through a conscious sense of self, one must been in touch with one’s primal roots, through experiences in and with nature.
The narrative I will be talking about happens to be my favorite book, written by the man responsible for the above quote, Terry Pratchett. In his book, Thud!, the protagonist Police Chief Samuel Vimes must assess a race killing to see if it actually is what it seems to be or if there is a more nefarious undertone to it. Between managing the racial tensions in his own force, political pressures and an ordnance from his wife to be home at 8pm sharp each night to read “The Cow Goes Moo” to his son, Sam Vimes is a man pulled in a million directions. The transformation at the end of the story is one of learning to prioritize what is in your life, while being more understanding of how each soul has its own odyssey and you are just witnessing a part. This is touched on when he experiences racial tensions from both factions of the killing. How each side feels and why they feel that way opens up lines of thought never even considered previously. Dealing with politicians and superiors helps understand that when something seems arbitrarily asinine could actually serve some purpose, if only you asked why it was assigned. And nothing is more heart wrenching then Sam Jr. not being able to find out if the cow actually go “moo”.
Well, my name is Maximilian Rojas-Domke. I go by Max though, it’s just easier. I’m beginning my sophomore year here at State and to be honest, it’s pretty nerve-racking. My major is English-Education, so this class is pretty intense for me. Along with the evaluations from Prof. Hanley and you guys,- my peers- I’ll also be pretty introspective on myself. I’ve always wanted to teach and had an affinity for English, now I get to see if these relationships are reciprocal. Regardless, everyone should push themselves to see what brings them fulfillment, and this stuff just feels right up my ally. I want to end this first entry with a quote from my favorite author, Sir Terry Pratchett. And it’s on a quote about education no less. “An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.”