Learning to read 50 essays

During the middle, his point of view is still that of an inmate, but with additional knowledge aiding him in shaping his morals and values. In this section by Malcolm X stating that "an inmate was smiled upon if he demonstrated an unusually intense interest in books," and "I was lucky enough to reason also that I should improve my penmanship" the reader ascertains that he is making his transition from being your average inmate with no morals, to the learned activist Malcolm X.

In the end, he instills upon the reader that he has obtained morals and become Malcolm X. In the two quotes "if I weren't out battling the white man," and "the worlds' white man indeed acted like devils", the reader finds out that through his reading, Malcolm X has obtained morals and by gaining such morals he has gained a purpose; the role of the civil rights activist. By putting his points of view in this specific order, the reader is given a chance to interpret his transformation from prison inmate to civil.

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Read More. It is worth noting that X believes that the black man can rise not only as an equal but as something above the white man. X's belief contrasted heavily with Douglas', for Douglas does not blame the white race for his standing, but rather those who take part in the slave business. Douglas and X remarkably reach the same level of interpretation, but whether due to their pasts, opinions, or some other factor in their lives and psyches do not share the same response to their epiphanies and their targets are drastically different.

These thoughts shape their writings and make it interesting how similar their strategies are and how different they are in purpose and execution. Matthew I can certainly agree with your points on Malcolm X, as well and Douglass' declared hatred for their masters, specifically the fact that Malcolm X's life spurred into that of a freedom fighter, after living in an oppressed environment for years. If I may, I would say the fact that Malcolm X's passion for reading came so late in his life compared to the average white male, "postponed" his rational and peaceful thoughts when it came to fighting for the rights of the black community.

I find your closing point on how it really is intriguing that their two approaches to the same problem juxtapose each other so drastically, and yet they both went through the same struggle of illiteracy for most of their lives. Matthew I really liked how you talked about the contempt and hate that grew among these authors as they become more educated. It is a really important point to note, because one would expect the authors to be more civilized and more mature; however, that is not the case.

Your analysis of this aspect reminds me of the book of Genesis in the bible, as it both portrays knowledge as a causality of hate and evil. I love this intertextual connection to the Bible, Dan. It is entirely apt, and both men would have been very familiar with the Genesis story. Both Fredrick Douglass and Malcom X bring an idea to my head which I've never really given much thought before: literacy, and even just plain knowledge can be incredibly difficult to come about. In each mans' story, they explain how they took every advantage and loophole they could find on their quest to literacy with baby steps, bit by bit.

Inch by inch they trekked onward towards the knowledge they so desired, and the journey they took was an incredibly difficult one: "Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the inch, and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell" Cohen, The pair of activists use logos and ethos as their rhetorical strategies. They appeal to logos in their stories by bringing one idea up: It really should be a basic right for everyone to know how to read and write.

Without literacy, life gets tough, especially as an adult. The wealth of knowledge one gains when given the keys of literacy is breathtaking, and to understand how important literacy is, they must step into the shoes of men and women who have been in the position that is illiteracy. The reason this issue is never talked about is because it's incredibly rare that those who have been or are illiterate to articulate themselves and their position to groups of people larger than those within conversational difference, for obvious reasons.

This is why essays and stories such as the ones that we read from Douglass and Malcom X are so important. Appealing to ethos in the two stories is very easy to do for the pair. Their story is so difficult to read, and the details are so gruesome on how both men and in the bigger picture, the entire African-American race were treated, that it's easy for emotions of outrage, shock, and disgust to come out within the reader s after reading their passages. Isaac, I like how you explain how knowledge and education was scarce during the 19thth century and how that did not stop Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X to learn.

It is also clear Douglass uses logos to show how education should be a human right. Furthermore, you character analysis of Malcolm X provides me with a new perspective of understanding how other people who were illiterate must have felt. This directly connects to Malcolm X's lifestyle, which boosts his credibility. Overall, your blog shows all of the techniques used by these two abolitionists to achieve their ultimate purpose. Isaac, You make a good point here that stories can not only generate pathos but also provide "evidence" to support an idea--appeal to logos.

I was very much struck by Frederick Douglass' internal struggle as he learned to read more, and learned more about the world. Douglass wrote that he "often wished himself a beast," construing his growing desire to rid himself of the anguish of knowing freedom and knowing slavery, and being a slave to his own freedom of thought that now spurted wildly as Douglass continued expanding his mind Increasingly, Douglass felt trapped by the knowledge that he could be free.

There was a certain paradox in Douglass' experiences, in which reading gave him the key to freedom by making Douglass know just how badly he was really trapped. Douglass received "a good many lessions in writing" by challenging boys on the street to showing off their writing skills Douglass' endless curiousity, passion, and dedication allowed him to reach great depths intellectually, and doing all the work himself. Malcom X, like Douglass, used reading as a gateway into setting first himself, and then others, free.

Reading not only literally gave way to a plethora of words and concepts through language, but also provided a platform for humans to communicate history, suffering, thoughts, and dreams to one another, even hundreds of years separated. Reading could give hope, and confidence, and justice, and a sense of belonging. Reading and writing were learned behaviors and could not arise in isolation; in contrast, books were the communicative troves that allowed people like Douglass who were isolated physically or socially to find their voices.

Books were powerful tools, and both Malcolm and Frederick wielded them as weapons of mass education, spreading knowledge and fervor and upending the delicate form that is the human mind, so easily upset by conditions and influenced by societal norms. There is a reason why certain books are banned more often and damned more fiercely than guns or drugs, and the reason is the immense power they hold to inspire entire societies into action. Panna, I really agree with your points concerning Douglass' paradox in reading. As shown in the text, reading roused lots of positive, influential thoughts, as well as the possibility of suicide.

Is ignorance bliss? When you mentioned Douglass' isolation, I also thought of how, in comparison to Malcolm X, his book selection was much more confined, which very likely tailored and skewed his perception of the reality he was part of. Reading these texts describing two very influential members of the African American community in two completely different time periods, and yet realising just how similar their situations were made me question the progression of mankind throughout history.

In , though we may be at a different standpoint when it comes to the privileges and lack there of of some minorities, the truth and struggle exposed in both texts proves just how long it really has taken mankind to reach even a slightly more peaceful point in time, which is still easily arguable. Frederick Douglass' lack in knowledge as an illiterate slave left him unaware that he could and should be living a better, more equal lifestyle to his masters; but due to his passion to learn more and more through reading and writing he recognizes, "I am a slave for life!

The flaws which seem to reoccur throughout history can be spotted easily, but only with the knowledge to read the history books the information hides in can you become aware and try to make a change. Someone who obviously made it their duty to make a change was Malcolm X, as written in learning to read, " the history of the Negro had been covered in one paragraph" which should not be possible in a world where there is so much history among all back-rounds, and yet, like I said before, and as both Douglass and X begin to realise, history repeats itself. Cohen, Imagine if these two had the resources to acquire the ability to read and write from a young age, and were aware that a better life was possible throughout their hardships even sooner than they were made aware.

Would Malcolm X have taken the violent path he did to try and change the way African Americans were treated rather than use knowledge and peace like other civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King?

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Had Malcolm X or Frederick Douglass received educations like we do at a small private school like Buckley, how drastically different could their lives have been? Mackenzie you have blown my mind! You communicated some excellent points about the relevance of these two authors despite the huge difference in time period.

I would like to add to your point that I do believe that growing up with the knowledge on how to read would have helped them excel more. However, it is also important to consider the fact that Douglass and Malcolm both saw reading as a privilege, thus making them more motivated to learn the craft and use it to their advantage.

This factor is due to human nature where people only want things they can't have, or have to work hard to get. Thank you for writing a wonderful post, and I wish I had seen it before I wrote mine, so I would have even more ideas on what to say. Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X both shed light on the realities of racism and prejudice that was ,and still is present, in our advanced civilization. What I found most captivating was the fact that knowledge and the ability to read made Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X aware of the discrimination and injustice white man has forced upon them and their culture.

When Frederick Douglass was told by white men he should find safety in the free North, he pretended to have no interest in the idea, for he claimed that white man cannot be trusted in any sense of the word, "I feared they might be treacherous. White men have been known to encourage slaves to escape, and then, to get the reward, catch them and return them to their masters" Douglass conveys his deep distrust in White men following his learning of how to read and write.

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This suspicion was likely a result of him despising white men for preventing him from the world of literature, which he adored and saw as priceless knowledge, "It had opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out" Douglass did not realize the severity of unfairness present in his life until he discovered it through reading. The new perception of the world through Douglass' changed eyes could not be undone. Furthermore, Malcolm X also had a new world view after learning how to read and write through self teaching, similar to Douglass, but Malcolm utilized his new hobby to mask the boredom and depression associated with being stuck in prison for long periods of time, "my reading books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned.

In fact, up to then, I had never had been so truly free in my life" Malcolm X clearly displays his adoration for reading, and how it played an integral part of freeing him from the chains placed on his from society. This new practice led Malcom X to a stunning conclusion, "The whole world's white men had indeed acted like devils, pillaging and raping and bleeding and draining the whole world's non-white people" Malcolm X was no longer in the dark, and his progression as a thinker and reader led him to hate the white man's greed that laid the foundation for his incarceration.

Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass both show how the access to bountiful knowledge may change the entire mindset of someone, and focus them on a separate set of ideals than they previously possessed. According to Levitt and Dubner, our actions are products of these incentives, and this ideology can be used to explain what prompted these two activists to take education and literacy upon themselves. This distinct connection between freedom and writing is also implied in the conclusion of the essay, when he confesses that he eventually learned to write, leading to the reader to infer that he eventually escaped as well.

As for Malcolm X, he quite obviously experienced another sort of personal liberty due to his incentives to learn to read, which was quite simply because he idolized his well-read friend Bimbi. The art of reading gifted Malcolm the freedom to gain a sense of purpose, prompting him to step forward against the endless cultural divide of those who are white, and those who are not. Oliver, Well done. Your connection to Freakonomics was well put and appreciated as a reader of all of the above texts.

Your point about incentives is especially thoughtful. While there are many differences between Douglass and X, including their specific motives, they both had clear influences that connected in a broader sense. Through the power of learning, both Douglass and X are able to push themselves to become more knowledgable and ready to understand not only what they're reading, but more of the world itself. With so much to gain, important incentives were a clear factor in achieving literacy.

Good work. After all, knowledge is power, and reading leads to knowledge. The fascinating part of these essays is that both writers seemed very aware of the previous statement and were able to use their craving for knowledge and power in order to become able to read.

The yearning for power inspired reading; the magic of it fostered its development. How powerful can reading really be? Well, in the case of Frederick Douglass, reading saved his life. Yet, he did not kill himself, nor stay stuck in his own head forever, as he had done for so long.

Frederick douglass learning to read and write essay

No, Douglass focused on reading, realizing that there was something to be learned, to be cherished, something to be completely his in a world where the only thing that belonged to him, himself, actually belonged to someone else. A secret all to himself, Douglass was satisfied, happy. He had earned power that no one could take away from him. Few people explain prison as the best thing to ever happen to them. Malcolm X, motivated by the ever-knowledgeable inmate Bimbi and ever-important Elijah Muhammad, decided to make something of his time locked away.

Every day he would read, write, memorize, learn, until he had become a fluent scribe. His need to learn set him on a path; the magic he encountered set him free.

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Both tenants of history grasped the life-changing power that books had on them, and thus went the extra mile to ensure their understanding. United by that power and furthered by their knowledge, nothing could stop motivated people with the tools to succeed. And succeed these men did, all thanks to words. Dedication and words. Both X and Douglass wanted to know more, to be their best. No one asked them to risk their lives or prison statuses to do so. They wanted to understand the world, and that right there is powerful.

Who does that remind you of? Through different ideals and lives, Douglass and X enjoyed power through the strength of words. Douglas- After reading both narratives, one specific point about literacy stood out to me. Up until reading Douglas' piece, I had never associated knowledge about a situation and emotion before, however now looking back, it is blatantly obvious. When Douglas finally comes to understand his morbid situation, he is angered as "it had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy," it being his education When I look back now at anger in my life, or in the world as a whole, often it is not the change in a situation which incites anger, but those who know about it.

One very basic example of the new knowledge causing change that relates to Douglass is going to the doctors office. Just as Douglass is raised without education but feeling the pain of a life of slavery, if I break my foot, all I know is that I can't walk. The next step, education, for Douglass occurred when he learned of the history behind his extradition to and imprisonment in America, whereas I learn from X-rays that my foot is broken.

The final step, action is taking by Douglass in his escape north in an attempt to fix his broken life, or by me wearing a cast, trying to fix my broken foot. Through education, Douglass is able to understand and fix an imbalanced situation-being enslaved-and help pave the way for others to become educated and change their lives as well. Sam, Your points about how Douglas's newfound knowledge about his position as a slave triggered an emotional response is very interesting.

In fact, I believe that the points you present here could also be applied to great effect in an examination of the Malcolm X piece we read as well.

Malcolm X exhibits similar behavior to Douglas upon his examination of history, resulting in him developing his own disdain towards the atrocities he learned white men had committed in the past. Overall, I believe the points raised here can be used to examine the texts assigned to a greater degree. Developing literacy was important for Douglas, a former slave, as it allowed him to form a sense of humanity.

Malala would go on to be shot in the head by a gunman as a result of her efforts, though she survived and went on to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in Matteen, The parallel between Malala and Douglass is a very powerful one. Thanks for making that connection. You gave me food for thought. Doc P. I believe this quote epitomizes the point that particularly shocked me from reading both of these extracts, and that was the epitome of how slavery, was in fact, a horror. Frederick Douglass not only persuades the reader through his emotive language and poetic form of writing but by generating a sense of deep profound emotion within the writer as slavery is obviously considered to be a horrid thing agreed and noted upon in both extracts , and so is the discrimination that they faced.

Therefore emphasizing how it is an effective form of persuasion to help readers understand the purpose of their writing, which was the tyranny of white men over black men in horrible uncivil times and how this was truly inhumane. To conclude I found it very insightful to say the least how both authors depicted their racial struggle and indifferences through poetic, yet easily comprehendible effective emotive language, as this emaciated my interest during my reading of these extracts. Written in times of severe racial oppression and discrimination, both Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X used language to activate their highly intellectual minds.

However simple reading and writing may seem to us, Douglass and X use it as their tool to uncovering their history as well as their full potential. The initial discovery of knowledge can be daunting, Douglass articulates this in his envy of current slaves. The saying "ignorance is bliss" is seemingly relevant as the realization of his own oppression plagues him because he knows he can do little to reverse it, "It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy, It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but no ladder upon which to get out. Succeeding in reading and writing was the first step in Douglass' full intellectual career.

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