Nina Simone – Ambiguous Freedom
Ambiguous Freedom in “The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing”
Freedom means different things to different people and people go to various means to find liberation. In “The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing,” Darina Al-Joundi lives her life on the idea that nothing should be forbidden in order to be free, but she is really controlled even more by her quest for liberation.
Darina’s Papa is one influence in her life that is controlling her. Any time Darina attempts to make her own decision, her father forces her to rebel. Darina said, “No, I don’t want your whiskey, I’m observing Ramadan.” Her father becomes angry and she then says, “He came rushing at me, grabbed me with one hand, and with the other forced me to drink the whiskey.” Darina has no freedom to make any kind of religious decision because of her father. He says, “Look daughters, look how they’re down on the ground. You..you are never to offer your ass up to the sky. Offer it to men as much as you want, but not to the good Lord. You may drink, go out, lose your virginity, but in my house, I don’t ever want to see anyone pray or fast.” Freedom is making decisions for yourself and letting no one stop you and Darina is controlled by her father instead of truly being liberated.
Her need to feel free and rebel is controlling as well. She is consumed and trapped by the constant need to rebel in drastic ways in order to feel free. An example of this is when she says, “My virginity was weighing on me heavily and I felt I needed to rid myself of it as a burdensome object, not by making love, but in some other way.” Darina feels that even the act of making love is in some way taking away from her freedom by being controlled by the other person. She solves this by taking her own virginity so that no one else can have that control over her. Darina also “started doing coke daily, two dollars a gram.” She began a dangerous addiction as a form of freedom. Her association of rebellion and freedom causes her to make drastic and possibly dangerous decisions. The rebellious needs compromise the non-rebellious decisions she may have made on her own.
Darina wants to be liberated and live a life free from control, but she is still controlled and is not free at all. Her father’s oppressing influence on her decisions and her pressing need to rebel from the social norm causes Darina’s true decisions to never be known. Darinia makes decisions based on other influences besides her own thoughts which prevents her from ever being free from control.