Essay On The Importance Of Literacy In Frederick Douglass

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The Blessings of Literacy
Throughout the book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, Douglass is very adamant in the belief that literacy can not only change the life of a slave, but he believes that literacy gives the enslaved a chance of freedom, a beginning to a world of endless thoughts and imagination, and the power to see the truth about the cruel and harsh realities of slavery. Douglass gives the readers of his narrative an insight of these beliefs through the use of allusions, metaphors, and ethos. Douglass begins telling his journey of finding the true meanings and powers of literacy with the use of allusions. He speaks of the book “The Columbian Orator” that features the ups and downs of a slave and
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Douglass begins revealing the torturous process of learning the truth about slavery when he first begins reading the “Catholic Emancipation” (Douglass 37). After reading the speech numerous times, he begins to understand just how important humans rights was and how it allowed him to form his own arguments against the sustaining of slavery. Although literacy had helped Douglass begin to form arguments and his own thoughts, it brought him another “difficulty” that he could not push aside. (Douglass 38). It was the difficulty of having to read about enslavers forcing Africans to abandon their homes and live in a world of cruel beatings and exhaustion. This is what began the sprout of Douglass’ belief that literacy is needed to help not only himself, but it is needed to help other slaves realize that slavery is not something that should be normalized and seen as okay. Instead, it is something that should cause others to “abhor and detest” any slaveholder (Douglass 38). For Douglass,this was the dreaded beginning of realizing that literacy was needed for individuals to be exposed the truth about slavery and slaveholders. He saw literacy as that key that would unlock slaves from the chains of ignorance when it comes to understanding that they were not made to be working in fields for long hours and being whipped as if they were animals, but that they were meant to be living their lives freely and happily in lands that were made foreign to them by the barbarous acts of their slaveholders. As a final point, Douglass’ strong ethos helped to justify his belief in literacy playing as a serum that helps individuals blinded by the lies of slavery become sightful of the heart-crushing

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