Frederick Douglass Allegory Of The Cave

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When someone grows enlightened, they utilize their newfound comprehension and knowledge to unshackle themselves from their lifelong ignorance to pursue a superior understanding of the world around them. This lengthy process often times entails detrimental consequences. It can be a traumatizing experience to disband yourself from a way of thinking that has been deeply ingrained into your psyche. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave showcases how enlightenment and education go hand in hand. His analogy connects directly to the struggles detailed in Frederick Douglass’s essay, Learning to Read and Gwendolyn Brooks poem, We Real Cool. The metaphorical cave described by plato symbolizes ignorance. Prior to learning how to read, Frederick Douglass was metaphorically …show more content…

Douglass expresses in his essay, Learning to Read, that he truly realized the depravity of his situation by reading various texts about slavery that presented opposing viewpoints. “Learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit” (193). Not only did Douglass’s path to enlightenment awaken him to the degeneracy of slavery and abhor learning how to read, it even prompted him to harbor suicidal thoughts. Douglass recounts, “I often find myself regretting my own existence and wishing myself dead...I should have killed myself or done something for which I should have been killed” (193). Frederick Douglass's inability to read and write represents the cave. After discovering how to read and write, he was metaphorically released from the cave towards enlightenment. Douglass experienced pain because reading enabled him to critically think about his circumstance. “Anything, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my own condition that tormented …show more content…

Whereas Douglass dangerously strived to attain knowledge and education, the characters in We Real Cool (18) don’t want to be educated nor enlightened and even boast about their ignorance. In merely 24 lines, We Real Cool describes the fateful lives of seven pool players. While others might say that the language of the poem gives off a celebratory attitude, I think its tone rings of insecurity, arrogance and even defiance, particularly with the repeated usage of the word “we.” The first line of the poem, “We real cool” shows the level of education of the boys, which presumably isn’t very much, followed by “We left school” which implies the boys dropped out of school and don’t even value education. The poem continues with, “We lurk late,” “We strike straight,” “We Sing sin,” “We Thin gin,” which all showcase the boys disinterest in education, lack of mental growth and pleasure in their street lifestyle. Drinking alcohol, staying out late and having sex are the only things that make up their reality. The last line of the poem reads, “We die soon.” This clearly illustrates the future of the seven pool boys, death. The boys are living a carefree life and do not want to be bothered by school or education. They do not in fact want to be enlightened. This route will not

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