An Analysis Of Wendell Berry's Essay 'In Defense Of Literacy'

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Neil Postman and Wendell Berry state that twentieth-century Americans are losing literacy and the ability to read and write, which weakens our ability to think for ourselves. Reading, writing, and thinking are connected through everyday life and as English speakers, it is our responsibility to preserve and correctly exercise the truth and validity of the English language. With the dependency on technology, relaxed educational standards, and even potential government control, we become stripped of our independence of thinking. With no free will to think, we are vulnerable to dominance and corruption, inability to argue complexly, oversimplification, and conformity. Neil Postman sets the scene of his essay, The Typographic Mind, by opening with an explanation of the famous Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate. It was arranged that this particular debate on August 21, 1858, would start with an hour of speech from Douglas, followed by Lincoln’s allotted hour and a half response,…show more content…
“Teachers of English and literature have either submitted, or are expected to submit, along with teachers of the more "practical" disciplines, to the doctrine that the purpose of education is the mass production of producers and consumers” (Berry). Berry uses the word practical to describe the way in which we produce students as though they were massed produced. School systems today demonstrate specialization, and with that follows oversimplification. “In our society, which exists in an atmosphere of prepared, public language-language that is either written or being read illiteracy is both a personal and a public danger” (Berry). While schools relax their education standards and primarily focus on profitability, we become vulnerable to loss of literacy through
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