Frederick Douglass in his essay "Learning to Read and Write" explains all the difficulties he had to face when he learned to read and write in 1830s. Being a slave, it was against the law to learn to read and write, yet Douglass by risking his life, using all opportunities managed to learn reading and writing.
Richard Rodriguez, on the other hand, was a child who was born 150 years later in a Spanish speaking family. In his essay "The Lonely, Good Company of Books", Rodriguez narrates his learning experience and explains how he started learning from reading books.
Despite the fact that both Douglass and Rodriguez had a passion to read and write, to a large extent, their learning experiences were different. The most distinctive difference in their learning experience was that the system and society opposed Douglass's desire to read and write, while Rodriguez was supported by the society; Rodriguez was free, whereas Douglass was a slave for his life; Douglass experienced fear and had to take risks to learn, while Rodriguez was free and had access to information and books.
Both Douglass and Rodriguez came from poor families and had to adapt to an unwelcoming society. At the beginning reading and writing was painful for both of them and neither of them had support from their families. But these similarities did not have a major impact on their learning experience.
Douglass, in his essay, calls learning to read "a curse rather than a blessing" because when he was able to read, he had the feeling that he was living in a miserable condition. After being able to read and write, he had the knowledge to read and write, but the society did not give him a platform to express himself. Reading gave him an idea of how bad his life was, a "horrible pit," but no suggestion for how he could overcome the challenges in life and find a "ladder upon which to get out". He then decided to travel to the North, where he could find people who had...