English 1010 09/20/10 Assignment B
Sherman Alexie and Frederick Douglas both have a love of reading which led them both to become notable names in the literary world. Each man was born into a lower class where they were not expected to amount to anything, but through their thirst of knowledge from reading, both were able to rise up and break the chains that bound them, both figuratively and literally. Sherman Alexie was born on an Indian reservation in the United States, so he was made to attended schools which were set up by the government. He described the attitude of the students as unwilling to show any interest or enthusiasm for an education, while the white teachers went through their paces, not caring that they might as well be speaking a foreign language to the students. Although Alexie had the privilege of attending a school, unlike the slave up-bringing of Douglas, he was influenced by his father into the joys of books. He notes that his father was one of the few Indians who voluntarily went to the schools and became an avid reader his whole life who collected so much books that their house was literally stacked ceiling to floor with books. Alexie used comic books, notably superman, to learn how to read by matching the actions drawn to the dialogue which was written. He then later on likens Superman breaking down a door to him trying to break down the mental block of the Indian population towards education while he tours the Reservations of North America as a successful author. Frederick Douglas was born a slave in North America. He was owned by a white mistress who, through kindness, taught him how to read. This became a great joy of his, but it later turned to an obsession when he was forbidden from reading by his same mistress under advice from her husband, the master of the estate. He was a slave, and just as Alexie was not expected to become anything other than an Indian, he also was not expected to become nothing more...
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