Freedom is defined as “the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint” (Dictonary. com). When you arrive to a new town you are somewhat free, although unless you are accepted by the town, you won’t feel free. In his short story, The Strangers that Came to Town, Ambrose Flack shows that true freedom is about being accepted. This is shown by the people in town mocking the Duvitches for who they are, and also by Tom and Andy poisoning the Duvitches fish they caught.
The Duvitches don’t feel accepted until the dinner at the Duvitches that changes their perspective on how they are. Firstly, the town mocks the Duvitches about everything. “Before she could put a stop to it, some of their classmates scoffed at the leaf, lard and black bread sandwiches they ate for lunch, huddled in one corner of the recreation room, dressed in their boiled-out ragpickers’ clothes”(Flack 4). In this statement the Duvitch kids don’t feel freedom at school because they are not accepted due to what they eat and how they are dressed.
Even the school principal is not very accepting to the Duvitch kids. “Mrs. Lovejoy, the principal, said they were bright, conscientious, pathetically eager but almost pathologically shy” (Flack 4). Everyone in town did not accept the Duvitches, this is well stated when Flack says “To the young Duvitches, like their parents, were considered antisocial” (Flack 4). The Duvitches get mocked by everyone so it is hard for them to be free because nobody in town accepts them. Secondly, when Tom and Andy poison the Duvitches fish, the Duvitches felt like they are not accepted and have no freedom. Not only had Tom and I snatched precious food from their mouths but we had brazenly advertised the contempt in which we held them” (Flack 7). Tom and Andy take away the Duvitches meals for almost a whole week that they are not able to afford, that is a way of showing them that they are not accepted. “But there was no hostility, no animosity towards us in the man and it was obvious that he considered himself too humble to receive an apology, finding it, like most of life’s troubles, a mockery to be endured without protest” (Flack 7).
This statement shows that the Duvitches never received apologies; they are shocked because they are never accepted anywhere or free from getting mocked. The Duvitches do not deserve to be treated this way and it did not help them get a good taste of freedom because they are not accepted. Thirdly, after the boys recollect all the fish they killed and gave them back to the Duvitches; it makes them, the Duvitches, feel as if they are starting to get accepted in town. Overjoyed to have neighbors in his house, he was so full of himself that I was conscious of an invisible stature in him which made him seem quite as tall as Father” (Flack 14). This is proof that Mr. Duvitch is starting to feel accepted and free in the town because he is constantly smiling and proud of himself. Also the statement when Flack says “How strange to see the boys and girls throw back their heads and laugh when Father said something that was funny, but not terribly funny. ” (Flack 14) This shows that the Duvitches feel freedom; they have freedom to laugh and have fun without having to worry about being accepted.
Feeling accepted gives you a reason to smile and have fun and that was produced when they got accepted. In conclusion, true freedom is about being accepted. It’s proven in the story The Strangers that Came to Town when their family is getting mocked by everyone in town, Tom and Andy poisoning the Duvitches fish and when they had dinner at the Duvitches. Freedom comes from feeling accepted by your surroundings, if you aren’t accepted by them how do you expect to be happy and feel free from negativity?