Learning To Read And Write And Frederick Douglass Analysis

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When comparing two different pieces of writing, it is important to assess the differences between the pieces’ tones and purposes. Essays that have similar themes can be misinterpreted as similar even though the purpose and tone of the two papers are quite different. The essays “Learning to Read” by Malcolm X and “Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass appear to be very similar. However, the two pieces have very distinct tones that are generated by each author’s purpose. The tone of Malcolm X’s piece is very serious and stern due to the fact that his purpose is to inform and persuade his audience to act for their civil rights. Frederick Douglass, however, has a more reflective and friendly tone since the purpose of his piece is to …show more content…
While describing his hatred towards white individuals, Malcolm X has a very stern and powerful tone. He writes, “When the white man professes ignorance about why the Chinese hate him so, my mind can’t help flashing back to what I read, there in prison, about how the blood forebears of this same white man raped China at a time when China was trusting and helpless” (Malcolm X 288). The powerful diction used by Malcolm X is reflective of his serious tone. The word “raped” has a very strong negative connotation, which demonstrates the stern and commanding tone Malcolm X uses. Malcolm uses this tone to support his purpose to persuade his audience. This tone is more persuasive and benefits his purpose more than a more relaxed, less demanding tone. Malcolm X uses a stern tone to also describe the abuse of African Americans in society. Malcolm X describes that, “Four hundred years of black blood and sweat invested here in America, and the white man still has the black man begging for what every immigrant fresh off the ship can take for granted the minute he walks down the gangplank” (290). This quote further demonstrates the stern tone utilized by Malcolm X. Malcolm X clearly demonstrates his anger and frustration towards the actions of white individuals by powerfully describing how African Americans are treated in society. Since his purpose is to persuade, which is especially seen in this quote, Malcolm X’s tone is very commanding. If his tone were to be more friendly, his purpose to persuade his audience to act would not be achieved. As a result, the tone of Malcolm X’s piece is incredibly different from Frederick

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