Importance Of Literacy In Frederick Douglass

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The Significance of Literacy within Slavery "You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man" (Douglass 65). In his autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass discusses his experiences as a slave and how he uses education in his journey to become a free man. Throughout his autobiography, Douglass uses logical appeals showing why literacy was withheld from slaves, emotional appeals illustrating how slavery corrupted his mistress ' mind, and ethical appeals showing how he used literacy to overcome slavery. These anecdotes illustrate that literacy allowed Douglass to further realize the injustices of slavery, which helped him to free himself from an inferior mindset and …show more content…
When Douglass 's master from Baltimore caught his wife teaching him how to read he explained the dangers of teaching a slave. The slave will come to resent his situation, which will result in his discontent, thus eventually becoming unmanageable. After overhearing the Auld 's conversation, Douglass internalizes Auld 's words and values them as his ticket to freedom. Douglass narrates, "I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty‐‐to wit, the white manʹs power to enslave the black man. It was a grand achievement, and I prized it highly. From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom"(26). Douglass 's understanding of Mr. Auld 's statement was that obtaining literacy would bring him closer to becoming a free man. Auld 's statement serves as a testimony to Douglass ' appeal because the act of teaching a slave to read would separate him from other slaves because the slave with the ability to read and write would no longer be crippled by an enslaved mindset. This separation will reflect on the literate slave 's behavior and will lead him to no longer feel subservient to his master, therefore diminishing his value to the slave master. This serves as a logical appeal because there is a clear and concise origin and result. The origin is literacy, and the result is …show more content…
Douglass attained his literacy by first being taught the alphabet by his mistress, then eventually teaching himself to spell his own name, and finally tricking young white boys in his neighborhood into teaching him new words. Following these events, Douglass was eventually able to escape the chains of slavery by pretending to be a free, African American sailor. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison writes in the preface of the autobiography, "It is certainly a very remarkable fact, that one of the most efficient advocates of the slave population, now before the public, is a fugitive slave, in the person of FREDERICK DOUGLASS"(4). Through including a preface written by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass is able to effectively use an ethical appeal to his audience because Garrison is able to grant him credibility in that he became literate, escaped slavery, and lived to tell the tale. Douglass is also credible because through obtaining literacy, he was able to free himself from an inferior mindset. Years after leaving the Aulds in Baltimore, Douglass was sent to live and work for Mr.Covey in order to break Douglass 's spirit and make him a "manageable" slave. Douglass and Covey got into a fight, to Douglass 's avail. Douglass narrates, "I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day

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