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“A Long Walk to Freedom”

By: Hanna Qian

In his autobiography, “A Long Walk to Freedom” Nelson Mandela describes his journey to retake freedom for his people in South America. During a difficult period in South African history, Mandela dedicated his life to ending apartheid, and the government policy of racial segregation. In this excerpt, Mandela uses the metaphors of chains and a long walk to support the message that the journey towards freedom is long and difficult but worth taking.

Mandela uses a comparison of chains to the oppression of his people to emphasize the pain of oppression, and therefore, the worthiness of freedom. Mandela’s protests against the government caused him to be arrested and sentenced to life in prison. It was while he was in jail that he realized his fight for freedom was larger not just about him, but about all of the people who needed help in South Africa. Mandela wrote, “Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.” In other words, for anyone in South Africa to achieve true freedom, everyone must be free and possess equal rights. Mandela’s metaphor of chains is all the more powerful because it comes from his first-hand experience of being chained in prison. The phrase also ties into the common symbolism of chains as for oppression and restriction. This metaphor helps to deliver his message that freedom is a constant fight. If any of his people are oppressed, then no one is truly free. Until South Africa can say that everyone is equal, Mandela’s fight will not be over.

Another way Mandela uses metaphor to convey the theme is through the comparison of a long walk to show how he has many more steps to freedom he has. Mandela is dedicated to traveling this difficult road to his country's freedom. As he was facing many hardships, he wanted to show his country that he will be the one to step up and get freedom for his country.

As Mandela says, "We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road." The metaphor of a long walk implies that even though South Africa had made some progress by the time the book was written, there was still far longer to go. For Mandela to lead South Africa to freedom he had to be determined. After the first problem is solved you have to work even harder for the first step of the next problem. The metaphor emphasized the theme because of how much Mandela cared for his country.

The evidence shows how freedom isn’t always easy to earn. Until Mandela can earn freedom for his country, he will always still be on the long walk to freedom.

Mandela uses metaphors to develop the theme of whatever you do it will be worth it. Freedom is not always easy to earn, so if people work hard

they will always be successful.

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