Analyzing the Text
The author uses the word “gambler” to imply that there is an equal chance of winning or losing. He also shows the reader that the main character will bet on anything, just wanting to be ‘open’ to the possibility of maybe winning. In such, we can expect that the main character will ‘gamble’ on her ability to escape, even if it is unlikely that she should escape.
The setting, a boat (15) en route to a new safe place, creates suspense as we catch her in the middle, not quite to safety but on her way. We therefore are still unsure about her success.
History tells us that most house-slaves were women, so this strongly indicates that Freeman is a woman. In addition when she rides behind Titus (59), this is a clue to her gender. Lastly, when she changes her clothes and says she will shave off her hair (67-68), these are all indicators of gender.
It helps keep Freeman’s gender a secret as well as allows the reader to know what Freeman is thinking more intimately. It also blends together the other people present, echoing the confusion of the escape with the confusion of identity.
It leaves the reader with a sense of ambiguity because it is non-specific. Caesar says “white folks” (113) instead of white men. This is more significant when we know Freeman is a woman, and so if she is free, perhaps she can have the same rights as white folks (as stated in the Declaration of Independence), or that it has less to do with gender and more to do with race
There are more risks for Freeman since if her gender is discovered, the British will probably remove her from the army. It also makes her a liar, which complicates her situation as she falsifies her identity.
The narrator means that Freedman has the deed of liberty but is not yet free — she is not free to be herself, not quite yet.
It is ironic that she considers this deed precious because it guarantees the liberties of a man, an Alexander Freeman. It does not guarantee the freedom of Dorothy. And so in fact, it may not be useful as the liberties granted are for a different person.