Liberty or Bondage?

By Rochelle Linton. Rochelle is a lecturer. She lives in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

An open door is a highly symbolic image, with nuances of meaning. It exemplifies opportunities, thresholds and beginnings in this journey of life. The image of a school is indeed a powerful one that is synonymous with tutelage, liberty and inspiration. Victor Hugo, in this profound quote insightfully captures the paradoxes that characterize social life, through his unique juxtaposition of the school and prison. Consequently, this quote underscores the transformative nature of education on individual and societal levels that eventuate in minimal imprisonment.

Education, especially at the tertiary level improves people’s socio-economic status and attendant standard of living, and thus, reduces the possibility of incarceration. The likelihood of individuals being engaged in meaningful employment increases with education. Education is the only avenue for many to escape the murky depths of poverty to experience more prosperous lives than those of their parents and grandparents. Additionally, the contemporary work environment requires highly-skilled and effectively trained individuals in diverse disciplines. Therefore education is the vehicle that some persons use to make a living, and become contributing members of their societies. Through education, they attain the requisite degrees and certification, and are able to transcend their modest beginnings and open the door to a productive future that is not defined by incarceration.

Moreover, education fosters critical thinking, rather than confinement. Critical thinkers are judicious and logical; they evaluate the multiple perspectives of a situation to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Critical thinkers make prudent decisions and typically exert control over their lives. Likewise, they effectively demonstrate important problem-solving and creative skills and enjoy the numerous personal, academic and professional benefits that are consistent with critical thinking. These core skills are imperative for the reduction of criminal activities that result in imprisonment.

Furthermore, education promotes individuals’ engagement in significant activities that build communities, not destroy them with crime. These activities may be inclusive of their participation in employment, charities and projects. Many educated individuals possess a sense of civic responsibility that propels them to dedicate themselves to advancing their societies. This

not only gives them a sense of fulfillment, but enables them to be catalysts for positive social change, through their pivotal involvement in benevolent organizations and institutions. These interventions close the prison doors to individuals, particularly young people, who become empowered through their interaction with academics. The educated often use their experiences to ignite the fire for knowledge in others, enabling them to rekindle positivity in their lives. Hence, these mentorship initiatives encourage liberty, not bondage.

Education also has the important ability to close metaphorical prison doors. These comprise the prisons of human consciousness that stifle creativity, independence and confidence. Bob Marley in the aptly titled “Redemption Song” stated “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” These potent words acknowledge the presence of mental prisons and the integral role of individuals in breaking free from these shackles. Education is undoubtedly the key to unlocking these chains and creating freedom. This encompasses the freedom to think, be, speak and do. Thus, education provides human beings with numerous possibilities to transcend literal and figurative borders.

Victor Hugo by stating “he who opens a school door, closes a prison” makes a critical statement about the power of personal choice, which is achieved through his creative employment of the motif of opening and closing doors. Personal choice is the purview of the individual who stands at that threshold. It speaks to the will of humans and their freedom to choose the important action of embracing education or criminal activities. There are some who stand at the school door, but do not enter. They do not accept the opportunities that the school door affords them, and by closing the school door, they open alternative doors that lead to prisons. Through their involvement in unscrupulous activities, they opt for bondage, rather than liberty.

The quote by Hugo is indubitably applicable to modern societies plagued by social ills and individuals, who often get lost in the maze of life. Education is a powerful source that provides those who open its doors with access to limitless possibilities of improved standard of living, personal, academic and professional success. It also positively impacts societies by reducing social ills like crime that leads not only to incarceration, but overarching bondage.

37 comments on “Liberty or Bondage?

  1. Cadeisha Grant on

    This essay is very interesting. It highlights social issue in society such as poverty and how education is important.

    Reply
  2. Crystal -Jade on

    I love this ! it is well organized and very interesting especially because it highlights social issues which is ever so relatable.

    Reply
  3. Kris-Ann Powell on

    This article is concise and one that can be easily related to. It is constructed correctly and should definitely help those who are in this situation. Great job!!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Antonia Dixon on

    The article was well thought out by Miss Linton. It is well organised and very, very interesting. The article grab my attention and kept me wanting to read more. I love this article.

    Reply
  5. Ashleigh on

    the essay is well written and the topic is very relatable. It covered the topic effectively and left me wanting to read even more about the topic.

    Reply
  6. Ian Linton on

    Education is really the key to unlock the shackles of poverty and bondage as emphasised in this article. A true reflection of many third world societies across the globe. Good job Rochelle.

    Reply
  7. Denton (Real Typye) on

    This is well constructed and even though we know the importance of education, some highlighted factors in this brought out light to shine more on it. Great job….

    Reply
  8. Kelly-Ann Roberts on

    Education is really the key to a productive future which fosters critical thinking, rather than confinement. This is a well structured essay which places an emphasis not only on the importance of education, but also its impact on the lives of individuals as well as the modern society.
    Excellent job!

    Reply
  9. Tavian on

    beautifully executed essay. it was very insightful and captured the nature of the quote in a way that can be related to. great job!!

    Reply
  10. Patricia on

    Very good essay. This topic is an important one, and your views are not only profound but exceptionally relevant in modern society.

    Reply
  11. Nickeana Waite on

    I found this essay quite encouraging. After reading I felt the urge to get an education if I didn’t have one and the zeal, passion to continue on this path of Education. I also found this essay to be inspirational. if this outlook on education is applied among our youth, indeed this nation would be more productive.

    Lovely!!!!
    Beautifully penned.

    Reply
  12. Cornelia Meeks on

    Very well written Rochelle! One truly appreciate the value of education especially when operating in the global market space.

    Reply
  13. Greg Morris on

    The article had me throughout. I found it quite inspirational and do hope that the opportunity be made available for such an article to be shared and discussed within groups such as; youth groups, mentorship programs and of course, schools and other societies that have responsibilities, implied or otherwise, for aiding nation building. Well said, Mrs. Linton.

    Reply
  14. Patrice on

    This article is well written and is very interesting, to get out of poverty we must be educated. Education is the key !! this I often time explain to my nine year old child. Education improves the future for everyone and provides economic benefits to society and to say No!! to the prison cell. Good job Rochelle

    Reply

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