Defintions of Freedom

I just finished reading Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom (2010), which interested me because I focus my American literature survey course on defintions of freedom. I’ve included two passages about this topic, one from a mother of teenagers and the other from one of the teenagers himself.

By almost any standard, she led a luxurious life. She had all day every day to figure out some decent and satisfying way to live, and yet all she ever seemed to get for all her choices and her freedom was more miserable. The autobiographer is almost forced to the conclusion that she pitied herself for being so free. (192)

Almost everybody in his dorm communicated with their parents daily, if not hourly, and although this did make him feel unexpectedly grateful to his own parents, who had been far cooler and more respectful of his wishes than he’d been able to appreciate as long as he lived next door to them, it also touched off something like a panic. He’d asked for his freedom, they’d granted it, and he couldn’t go back now. (257)



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