Essay about The Narrative Of The Life Of Fredrick Douglass

1226 Words Aug 19th, 2016 5 Pages
How does learning how to read and write as a slave create hope in acquiring freedom? The “Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass” is an autobiography of Fredrick Douglass’s life as a slave. In this biography, Douglass recounts in vivid detail the many horrors of being a slave, “Under his heavy blows, blood flowed freely, and wales were left on my back as large as my little finger” (XV 260). Douglass also describes his pathway to freedom, and how becoming literate changed his perspective on life. Fredrick Douglass’s experience can be compared to many other authors; such as Lao-Tzu, Howard Gardner, Machiavelli, Plato, and Isak Dinesen. While acquiring his literacy, Douglass faced many obstacles, first off, his motivation to be free; followed by his struggles and insights. Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write, and as a white slaveholder you would want to keep your slaves illiterate. Slaves were raised to be obedient and ignorant, and becoming literate would allow them to acquire the knowledge about free blacks, which would cause them to rebel their master. Lao-Tzu states that “The Master leads by emptying people’s minds and filling their cores, by weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve. He helps people lose everything they know, everything they desire, and creates confusion in those who think that they know” (24). This passage is similar to what the white slaveholders do to their slaves, they want their slaves to learn nothing, do…

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