Authors have done many essays on learning and teaching. In two particular essays, the authors focus more on reading and learning to speak good, which is also associated with reading. The narrators in Frederick Douglas's essay "Learning to Read and Write" and Maxine Hong Kingston's "Learning to Speak Like and American Girl" not only tell the reader about their conflict of relationship between society's dominant culture and their own sense of identity, but educate the reader and explain the choices the characters make which determine the direction of their lives.
In "Learning to Read and Write" the speaker tells about his life as a young slave boy. He is " twelve years old, and [is thought of by others as] being a slave for life " (1003) His desire and yearning to read and write is not allowed as a slave. He meets a few young white boys who are willing to teach him how to read and write if he will bring them bread. "As many of these I could, I converted into teachers."(1003) Kingston's essay "Learning to Speak Like and American Girl" is similar to "Learning to Read and Write" because of the time period and the controversy. During this time, which is set during World War II, Chinese girls were just beginning
to be sent to American schools and taught how to speak and read English. The students in the class and the teacher would give these students a hard time because they were not loud or fluent enough. "When I went to kindergarten and had to speak English for the first time, I became silent."(1007) these two stories are similar in society because they are both challenged with the dominant culture. The authors express their own sense of identity by telling the readers their ethnic background and their significance in the story. The speaker in the "Learning to Read and Write" shows his identity as a young slave wanting to read and write. The speaker in "Learning to Speak Like and American Girl" is a young Chinese girl... [continues]
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