In the narrative Why I Learned to Read and Write, by Frederick Douglass he expressed how difficult life had been being a slave. He felt the need to break away from the norm and learn how to read and write. While educating himself he dealt with many obstacles that prolonged his education. Although he dealt with difficult obstacles he ended up becoming a free slave, because he was well educated. Slaveholder believed education and slavery were incompatible, therefore Douglass was faced with the decision to use various stratagems; in the process he ended up re-enforcing the view of the slaveholders and taught society the importance of education.
The legendary abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass was one of the most important social reformers of the nineteenth century. Being born into slavery on a Maryland Eastern Shore plantation to his mother, Harriet Bailey, and a white man, most likely Douglass’s first master was the starting point of his rise against the enslavement of African-Americans. Nearly 200 years after Douglass’s birth and 122 years after his death, The social activist’s name and accomplishments continue to inspire the progression of African-American youth in modern society. Through his ability to overcome obstacles, his strive for a better life through education, and his success despite humble beginnings, Frederick Douglass’s aspirations stretched his influence through
The Auld family was described in the next chapter. At first she was very kind to Douglass which threw him for a loop because normally he would’ve been punished for something as simple as looking her in the eye. However, not long after she too became cruel and completely changed as a person according to Douglass. Before turning cruel Mrs. Auld would teach Douglass some words as well as the alphabet. Nevertheless, this too was brought to a halt when Hugh Auld finds out. He does not agree with Mrs. Auld teaching Douglass these new things, because he felt the education ruined slaves and ultimately would make them unhappy and unruly. Although Mr. Auld’s word were quite harsh, Douglass took it as words of enlightenment and vowed to win his freedom
Frederick Douglass must have been aware of this because in his narrative, he actively opposes the idea. He describes the masters as people who would “much rather see [the slaves] as engaged in degrading sports, than to see [them] behaving as intellectual, moral, and accountable beings”(48). At a very young age, Douglass learned from the kindly Mrs. Auld how to read, and eventually how to write. He later began a school on the day of the Sabbath for other slaves who desired this knowledge. In Douglass narrative, he proves that unlike the slave owner’s perceptions, African Americans could be “scholars” that “ardently [desired] to learn”(48). The fact that the slaves choose to attend Douglass’s school despite the possibility of painful repercussions proves that they had a desire to grow
Abolitionism was a well-known movement around the time of the Civil War and its aim was to put an end to slavery. The people of the early nineteenth century viewed the elimination of slavery in numerous ways. Some fought against the end of slavery, some appeared to mildly support the cause and yet others wholeheartedly supported the ending of slavery until their dying day.
Frederick Douglass in his narrative “Why I learned to Read and Write” demonstrates how he surpassed many obstacles along the way towards getting an education. These obstacles not only shaped Frederick’s outlook on life but also influenced him in his learning to read and write. Frederick’s main challenge was that of not being an owner of his person but rather a slave and a property to someone else.
Fredrick Douglass is one of the most famous abolitionists the United States has ever seen. The events that led up to his freedom of slavery were very interesting. In his Narrative you not only get to see the worst of slavery, but you can also feel firsthand what Douglass went through to get his freedom. As we all know slavery was something you could not just walk out of. Some slaves that try to escape even end up getting punished or killed. Fredrick Douglass does not actually tell us exactly how he escaped in detail to the North from slavery because he does not want to give any slave masters information. Which makes sense because, he would not like to be giving slave owners an upper hand on slaves that do try to escape.
With all the knowledge he was gaining, he began to comprehend everything around him. The things he was learning fascinated him, but the “more [he] read, the more [he] was led to abhor and detest [his] enslavers”(Douglass 35); however, that should not be viewed as a negative affect but a positive one. No one should want to be deceived for their entire life. This hatred that he built up motivated him to continue to further educate himself. As a result, he later motivated other slaves to earn an education by having “[availed] themselves to [an] opportunity to learn to read” (Douglass 69) by Douglass teaching them every Sunday. He became known as an inspirational person. Not many people are willing to go against what others believe, but Douglass was. His slave owner thought that it was “unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read” (Douglass 29), but that did not stop him from pursuing further knowledge. Education has a powerful effect that makes others fear that one has superiority over them one way or another. Slaves had their basic human rights taken away from them because slave owners wanted them to lack the ability to form an opinion on what was happening to them. Douglass had the option to form an opinion because he understood what was going on due to his comprehension of various situations due to the knowledge he was gaining. For this reason, education was
Education is the light at the end of the tunnel, when Frederick uses it he discovers hope. In the story the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick goes through many struggles on his path to freedom, showing us the road from slavery to freedom. At the beginning of the book, Douglass is a slave in both body and mind. When the book ends, he gets both his legal freedom and frees his mind. The path to freedom was not easy, but it got clearer when he got an education. Education gives hope for Douglass’s life since he began to truly understand what goes on in slavery. As he figured out more about the topic, his self motivation poured out hope in his life.
The power of education is a main theme within A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Douglass 's experiences lead him to recognize its great power and to believe that education is a key in our life. It has the power to open all doors while providing us with several opportunities. Education makes the difference; it expands the human mind since the more we know the more enlightened we are. It makes us free and it avoid us to be enslaved, too. However, literacy turns out to be not only bliss, but also painful. Indeed, while learning to read Frederick becomes more and more aware of the injustices of slavery, and this leads him to regret this knowledge “Learning how to read had become a curse rather than a blessing” ( Douglass ) .
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is Frederick Douglass’s autobiography in which Douglass goes into detail about growing up as a slave and then escaping for a better life. During the early-to-mid 1800s, the period that this book was written, African-American slaves were no more than workers for their masters. Frederick Douglass recounts not only his personal life experiences but also the experiences of his fellow slaves during the period. This book was aimed at abolitionists, so he makes a point to portray the slaves as actual living people, not the inhuman beings that they are treated as. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, slaves are inhumanly represented by their owners and Frederick Douglass shines a positive light
Frederick Douglass was a slave for life in the southern United States before the Civil War. He had no regular teacher because, at that time, most slave owners did not believe that their slaves should be taught to read and write. White slave owners thought that if slaves knew how to read, they would go against their owners and fight against slavery. Douglass had been living under Master Hugh’s family, when he learned to read
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.
An education often opens new doors for people, but how does a lack of an education affect other people? What causes such a stark difference between people with knowledge and people no knowledge at all? In the Narrative of Frederick Douglass an American Slave we can see that Douglass is more intelligent than the other slaves on the plantation he is living on due to his hidden ability to read. With his level of education, he is able to see the brutal mistreatment of slaves and is unable to look at things the same way when he was an uneducated slave. The slaves on the plantation do not know how to read and therefore do not view being a slave the way Douglass views it. The level of education of the slaves on the plantation allow them to be manipulated by their masters. In many situations during the 1800s when slavery was prominent we can see that education holds power in society. Slave masters were educated and due to this, they were able to exert control over the slaves on the plantation. Douglass was self-educated and was able to analyze slave behavior and see slavery occur firsthand as a slave himself. In the book, we can see how the slave’s ignorance is actually bliss from the perspective of Douglass, how information like knowing how to read was withheld from the slaves and why and why slave-owners preferred non-educated slaves to educated ones.