John Sarny Quotes

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Knowing is good, but knowing all is better. Based on an actual incident, Gary Paulsen's book Nightjohn showcases this life lesson. In the story young Sarny, a slave, is taught to read and write by a fellow slave, John. She knows that as a slave that reading is dangerous. But she takes that chance, because she knows wisdom is sharper than any weapon.

“’Cause to know things, for us to know things, is bad for them. … They thinks we want what they got” (page 55). John said this when telling Sarny about the dangers of a slave reading. Both the slaves and Waller, the plantation owner, know that with a good education, you can get yourself out of a bad situation. This is why it is so important for Sarny to learn, she can get herself out of slavery.

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