Learning To Read And Write Frederick Douglass Essay

Douglass takes his audience through the events that helped teach him how to read and write.He started out with looking at his master’s newspaper, then he made friends with the white boys and learned from them, next he started reading books, and finally he found a way to learn how to write.During this time, I succeeded in learning to read and write,” (260).

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He realized how truly powerless he was and in the end he was still only a slave.

The ability to read did not change the fact that he was still destined to be a slave for life.

The piece tells of the troubles and repercussions that reading and writing bestowed on Douglass. His sentences are very direct and to the point; it is not difficult to decipher what he is trying to say.

For example, he begins his essay with, “I lived in Master Hugh’s family about seven years.

This description aligns with his direct and simple style, but offers enough information to allow the reader to picture what type of woman this mistress was.

Douglass uses elevated diction throughout his essay, which surprised me, considering he was a former slave.Douglass does not include over-the-top imagery and descriptions, but he includes just enough to allow the reader to picture what he was experiencing.He describes his mistress as “pious, warm, and tender hearted,” (260).Reading allowed him to see the problems that were going on in the world, but it did not give him the capability to do something about it.Douglass starts off this essay with an anecdote about the family he served when he was a young boy.For him to envy the other slaves for their lack of knowledge is extremely powerful; people should strive for knowledge, not for stupidity.He clearly expresses the pain and burden that literacy has brought upon him.He uses words such as “pious”, “discontentment”, “treacherous”, and “thus”.These words help show just how educated Douglass truly was.I really enjoyed the style of this essay; it was simple and easy to understand, but also showed that Douglass was an educated man.Quote: “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity,” (262). I always imagined that every slave would want to know how to read and write, and did not think that this could be a negative thing.


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