Human slavery requires ignorance, just as an individual’s freedom, from oppression, requires knowledge attained by education. To maintain order and control over slaves, slavery demands ignorant slaves; thus, keeping slaves ignorant prevents slaves from recognizing the empowering value of education and education’s ability to liberate slaves from the effects of ignorance. Frederick Douglass’s pursuit of education helped him discover the dark, hidden truths of slavery in his article, “How I Learned to Read and Write.” Thus, the pursuit of education inspires a desire for freedom. The desire to learn generates determination and motivation. Douglass’s master forbade his wife from continuing to teach Douglass the alphabet because his master …show more content…
Slaves often do not understand their condition fully, since they do not know life beyond slavery. His unawareness of the liberating power of education bound him in a misleading bliss, causing him to believe that his state of being had permanency and to remain unaware of his injustice. However, once education had revealed to Douglass his ignorance, he says, “. . . I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy.” (Douglass, 2014, p. 133) Education is equally yoked by the power to free an individual and to enslave an individual. Education frees an individual from the misleading bliss of ignorance, resulting in a new ability to think critically and to understand. However, ignorance does not require hard work as education does. Ignorance allows individuals to remain in their comfort zones. Furthermore, Education opened Douglass’s eyes to the reality of his injustice as a slave; thus, compelling him to action as he recalls, “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity.”(Douglass, 2014, p.133) Education caused Douglass heartache. While attaining his education benefited Douglass, he could not relate to his fellow slaves. The fellow slaves had the ability to remain content with their current state of being since it was all they had ever known. Douglass knew otherwise and longed for the forbidden life as a free man, as it changed from an unattainable idea into an achievable
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Douglass said reading persistently expanded his mind, but as a result the knowledge tortured him internally, so internally he did not want the knowledge anymore. In the essay Douglass said reading one of the speeches from the “Columbian Orator” told him that the capability of truth won over the inner feeling of the oppressor. Also with the knowledge he gained from the speeches he read was the elimination and discouragement of bondage, and the questioning of if slavery is right or wrong and went against human rights. Douglass, now knowing the truth about slavery and being able to argue against it, felt that slavery was unspeakable. Douglass grew his knowledge, not just because his was hurt by the truth, but at the same time grew anger toward the oppressors that put him in his situation.
Life began for Frederick Douglass as a slave without any indication of what the future would hold. A fortunate event occurred of Douglass; he learned to read as well as glimpse the abolitionist movement in Baltimore. Douglass quickly realized the institution of slavery and proper education cannot exist together. After being sold to a “slave breaker”, a drive for freedom and education was born. Frederick kept educating himself after his escape and joined the abolitionist movement.
All slaves have once had the dreams of freedom and a plot for escape, but the pathway to this freedom could come only with the ability to read and write. It was said by master that instructing a Negro how to read and write would ruin them as a slave (Douglass, 1845/1995, p.20). Once they learned these things then they would have the same knowledge as a white men, and the next thing they would want is their freedom. If slaves had this capability then their chances of escape would be much greater and white slave owner could not make a living without them. Frederick Douglass had his own way in succeeding to learn, he was first taught by his master’s wife, until her husband caught her in the act and forbid her to ever proceed in her actions (Douglass, 1845/1995, p.20).
Because of his education, he formed a hatred towards slaveholders and was discontented with his wasted life as a slave. In his essay, Douglass expressed that the thought of freedom may have been the only thing that kept him hopeful through his anguish. If slaves, like Douglass, were able to question their rights to freedom, or successfully argue and fight their way out of slavery, the institution of slavery would crumble. Douglass was an example of what slaveholders feared: that education and slavery, when mixed, were dangerous to both slaves and the institution of slavery. Douglass’s used his education to fight out of slavery, and eventually become an example of past and modern battles to promote
Frederick Douglass was one of the only few slaves to be able to read and write and used this ability to free himself. To gain support against slavery, many abolitionists in the 19th century would detail the brutality of slavery as an institution, and explain the helplessness and dejected condition of black slaves under this cruelty. However, I don’t believe Douglass would agree with their statement that black slaves were helpless and dejected. Slaves were physically strong, capable of hope and ambition, and Douglass showed that there are other ways to learn than through a proper education since they did not have one. Under the cruelty of slavery in U.S. history, most slaves were not helpless or dejected and were fully capable of a resistance to slavery.
Learning to read showed Douglass that the world outside of slavery was not as easy as it seemed, but also showed Douglass how evil slavery was. Douglass found out what the word “abolition” meant, and said how he “always expect[ed] to hear something of importance to [him]self and fellow‐ slaves” when he heard this word, but never did (30). Adding to his grief was the self realization that he was “in a horrible pit, but to no ladder” on which he could use (29). Being able to read also showed Douglas how “wretched [his] condition” was and how he could do nothing about it (29). 4 Douglass, now undoubtedly, knew that he would always be looking for liberty for his duration as a
An education is one of the most valuable items one can possess and that is something that will never change. Douglass noticed that slaves were not permitted to learn or read because it would ultimately lead to them being able to think on their own. Most African Americans only knew slavery and that was all they would ever know. Although learning would present Douglass with the harsh reality of his and his peers situation, he realized this was a key component to freedom. Douglass mentions, “I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing.
Douglass began to view reading as a curse more than a blessing; a way in which he felt more imprisoned by the slave state he was in. Thus, the more he read the more he began to detest enslavers; which nonetheless in his mind would be nothing but thieves whom robbed slave’s homes. For it was not only reading but his ceaseless mind getting the best of him; such reading would create endless thoughts which haunted him and made him wish that he would remain an ignorant slave. Nonetheless, during Douglass’s thoughts, Douglass began to learn to
The concept of consumerism was first brought to my awareness in First Year Writing. I admit, before this intro course, I was indeed ignorant of the negative impacts that consumption had on society. FYS opened my mind to the dangers of over-consumption, and more importantly, helped me see beyond what meets the eye. Take for example, Disney, a seemingly innocent corporation, a company’s whose name is practically synonymous with the notion of childhood innocence. Upon initial judgement, one would assume that Disney is merely harmless family entertainment.
Douglass managed to overcome the maltreatment of his wretched slave owners through the eventual attainment of freedom. The injustice imposed upon the African-American slaves by their owners was the crux of Douglass’s motivation to escape this inhumane life. Adolescents in today’s society could use Frederick’s determination as an example of moving forward to better oneself or one’s situation regardless of
Because of this, he successfully creates a contrast between what the slave owners think of and treat the slaves and how they are. Douglass says that slave’s minds were “starved by their cruel masters”(Douglass, 48) and that “they had been shut up in mental darkness” (Douglass, 48) and through education, something that they were deprived of, Frederick Douglass is able to open their minds and allow them to flourish into the complex people that they are. By showing a willingness to learn to read and write, the slaves prove that they were much more than what was forced upon them by their masters.
He described her, as a woman who treated him the way one human being has to treat the other. However, his master immediately put a stop to it because in his view learning to read “would forever unfit him from being a slave.” Douglass took this lesson to heart where he says it “only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn.” At this moment he learned that education is what ruin slaves and education and slavery are not linked together. This encouraged him to work toward becoming free by learning to read and write using several strategies that included offering bread to the white children in exchange for reading lessons and observing the writings of the men he worked with.
" Douglass explains his claim by providing more in depth idea of what it means to have education not only does it provide a path to freedom, but it also opens the eyes to the horrors around. This example which proves no one can be enslaved if she or he has the ability to read, write, or think only strengthens the
If people are not utilizing education, then the world will become even more corrupt than it already is. Douglass and Malala both utilized their knowledge to be able to explain why they believed that the lack of education should be changed before it was too late for them to be able to persuade others. Thus, education should become a necessity for
Douglass' life took place in a time where the white man ruled over the black folk, and made the whole race slaves. The lacks were not given any sort of education, on the other hand whites were given an opportunity to learn. "... It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but offered no ladder upon which to get out." (Douglass 36)