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Published: 11-12-2019

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How Reading Empowered Frederick Douglass to Pursue His Journey to Freedom

Learning to Read is an excerpt from Fredrick Douglass’ biography. He writes about the methods he undertook in learning to read and create. He displays all the levels in this single passage. Fredrick was a slave in his master’s residence. He lacked the chance of going to college or receiving any formal education. However, the home mistress helped him and taught him the alphabet, an act which the master did not like. In the end, the mistress listened to the husband and returned to her inhumane nature of leaving Fredrick in his illiteracy state. The paper will especially expound on numerous quotes by Fredrick, as a way of showing how reading empowered him to embark on the journey to freedom.

Even with lack of an chance for studying how to read, he was determined to span by means of the journey of gaining information which he believed was the alternative to his freedom. He quotes, “When I was sent of errands, I often took my book with me, and by going one portion of my errand speedily I found time to get a lesson just before my return” (409). Slavery was not going to be a restraining element to his desire to know how to read. He believed ultimate freedom was going to be the ultimate end of his journey.

In his thoughts, the act of freedom spans via every time he underwent slavery and neglect. He actually wanted to be free of charge and knew the very best way to attain the freedom he wanted was very first being aware of how to read. For instance, he mentions what portion of the book mentioned about the vice of slavery “If a slave ran away and succeeded in acquiring clear, or if a slave killed his master, set fire to a barn. Or did anything really incorrect in the mind of a slaveholder, it was spoken of as the fruit of abolition. Hearing the word in this connection very usually, I set about finding out what it meant. The dictionary afforded me little or no help. I located how it was the act of abolishing but then I did not know what was to be abolished” (412). Through the quote, Fredrik explains how he was eager to find out how to read and realize what the book meant relating to slave abolishment. Via such understanding, he understood that his freedom would be less difficult considering that he now had enough expertise and understanding of his rights.

Indeed, freedom rang by way of his minds as he gained the art of reading by going by way of publications such as The Columbian Orator. He quotes this statement in regard to function he learned, “They gave tongue to exciting thoughts of my soul, which had regularly flashed through my thoughts and died away for a want of utterance. The Moral which I gained from the dialogue was the power of the truth more than the conscience of even a slaveholder. What I got from Sheridan was a bold denunciation of slavery and a strong vindication of human rights” (410). Via the statement, he knew that reading was the only alternative that could yield the anticipated freedom. He in no way wanted to continue living in servitude but time was not just yet. The ideal time to gain irreversible freedom was going to be at its ideal soon after gaining expertise that could support him over the entire span of his life.

In summary, Fredrick Douglas had a burning urge of understanding to study so that he would get back his freedom. Even though Fredrick did not have an chance of receiving formal education as a slave, he produced use of small opportunities that helped him learn to study. The excerpt presents learning as a way by means of which men and women can be capable to liberate themselves from servitude. Ultimately, he succeeded in finding out the art of reading and writing before embarking on the path to his freedom.
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