The Fall Transformation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Justin O'Brien's translation.
Once upon a time, I was always talking of freedom. At breakfast I used to spread it on my toast, I used to chew it all day long, and in company my breath was delightfully redolent of freedom. With that key word I would bludgeon whoever contradicted me; I made it serve my desires and my power. […] After all, I did on occasion make a more disinterested use of freedom and even – just imagine my naïveté – defended it two or three times […] I must be forgiven such rash acts; I didn’t know what I was doing (6.13).
Along with "truth" and "innocence," "freedom" is one of the concepts that Jean-Baptiste reconsiders during his transformation. If he uses freedom to serve his interest before his "fall," then he uses slavery for the same means after.
Covered with ashes, tearing my hair, my face scored by clawing, but with piercing eyes, I stand before all humanity recapitulating my shames without losing sight of the effect I am producing, and saying: "I was the lowest of the low." Then imperceptibly I pass from the "I" to the "we." When I get to "This is what we are," the trick has been played and I can tell them off. I am like them, to be sure; we are in the soup together (6.21).
Jean-Baptiste’s entire confession has been a transformation. Or, in friendlier terms, he’s been messing with you.
Now I shall wait for you to write me or come back. For you will come back, I am sure! You’ll find me unchanged. And why should I change, since I have found the happiness that suits me? I have accepted duplicity instead of being upset about it. […] I permit myself everything again, and without the laughter this time. I haven’t changed my way of life; I continue to love myself and to make use of others. Only, the confession of my crimes allows me to begin again lighter in heart and to taste a double enjoyment, first of my nature and secondly of a charming repentance (6.22).
Jean-Baptiste’s transformation has been one of the mind, not one of action. It is at this point in the narrative where, as readers, we have to question whether Jean-Baptiste has been fundamentally changed or not.