Frederick Douglass Literacy And Freedom

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The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a beautifully written book about a man who overcame the horrors of slavery and was able to better himself, despite incredibly limited beginnings. Frederick Douglass is able to crawl out of the hole that slavers put him in through the bits and pieces of kindness that he finds in others, and this is facilitated by his learning to read. Literacy in Narrative is a direct link towards freedom in several ways. The ability to read opens Douglass’ss eyes to a life with more substance than the one he has ever known. But literacy isn’t the road towards freedom for Douglass, or other slaves, only. Douglass suggests that if slaves were allowed to be taught to read, it would free them from the chains …show more content…
Auld attempts to keep Douglass from learning to read, and to quell the rising need for this small form of freedom, backfires and instead ignites his passion for attaining this small form of freedom. Douglass writes that “from that moment, I understood the path to freedom” (Douglass, 39). Douglass has made the connection between literacy and freedom, and he refuses to release the newly acquired grip he has on that freedom. After his mistress ceases to teach him his letters, Douglass comes up with a plan: “The plan which I adopted, and by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met on the street. As many of these I could, I converted into teachers” (Douglass, 43). Douglass tricks these new friends into filling in the gaps of his learning, and soon he is finishing his training and thus completes the first leg of his journey towards freedom. But learning to read isn’t enough for Douglass: “…that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read has already come” (Douglass, 45). Reading isn’t enough for Douglass, and the discontentment he feels only under him to keep reaching. As Douglass puts it, “Mistress, in teaching me the Alphabet, had given me the inch, and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell” (Douglass, …show more content…
But the hopes of his story is found in the pages as well. The ability to read and write is one that is often taken for granted, but Douglass’ss narrative puts an incredible importance on that ability. Literacy is the path to freedom. Frederick Douglass doesn’t only make this point for slaves, but for everyone effected by slavery. For Douglass, slavery doesn’t entrap Blacks only, but it grasps Whites in its grip and poisons their hearts. Through his book, Douglass explains that slavery isn’t a slave’s problem, or even a African American’s problem, but rather it is a human problem, and that literacy is the key to obliterating that

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