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Learning to Read and Write - Article Example

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In the paper “Learning to Read and Write” the author focuses on chapter 7 of Douglass’s autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845). It was published after Douglass had become known as an orator and abolitionist…
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Learning to Read and Write
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Download file to see previous pages When the boy made rapid progress, she proudly reported the fact to her husband, who berated her for her pains. She was not only breaking the law, but she was also doing something 'unsafe'-for learning would make the boy unfit to be a slave, and unmanageable too. Mrs. Auld followed her husband's orders-and soon became a new woman. Whereas she had earlier been good and kind, she turned cruel and harsh. The sight of the slave with a book or a newspaper in his hand was hateful to her. She kept the closest vigil to monitor his questionable movements. "Irresponsible power" had corrupted and changed her, through and through.
Douglass records how he resorted to various "stratagems" to steal an education, with help from street-urchins and ship carpenters, and by surreptitious use of his young master's copybook, a Webster's Spelling Book, and a powerful book of speeches and dialogues that he was lucky to lay hands on. The story of the determined conquest of his own illiteracy is amazing. No wonder he had to write it out for people to believe that he had really risen from the ashes of oppression, rather than from the rungs of opportunity.
Alice Walker's "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self," tells the story of her finally coming to terms with what seemed to her a life-changing deformity. She remembers her life from around two and a half years till the age of eight as an idyllic period, when she knew she was both cute and sensible and had no doubt that she was the apple of her father's eye. Then, her elder brothers were given guns and pellets to play with and one of them accidentally fired the shot that left the little girl one-eyed and physically scarred forever, and mentally scarred and scared for almost two decades. When she learns to look at herself through the eyes of her own child, she sees a 'world' unseen till then and is free to dance again with herself. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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