Allende and the Value of Reading
The value of literacy is something that is very important and can be seen in many ways. Reading can be a medium for self expression or a form of personal freedom. It gives us a window into our feelings and can show us a different perspective on life, the environment around us, and can cause awareness to social change. It can be a driving force for social empowerment, and this could be seen through its social & political importance. For Isabel Allende, reading is fundamental because she believes it gives people a map to guide their personal feelings and this can be read in her essay "Reading the History of the World". In this day and age reading is still a fundamental part of life, but we now see the medium making a change from paper books to digital media.
Allende began to read and write when she was very young. She really had no way to see the outside world due to her very strict grandfather. With no access to media such as television and newspapers, she had no other contact to the outside world than the books in her uncle's collections. The books she began reading seemed advanced for her age. Allende read many types of literature when she was young such as Shakespeare, Russian, French, and Latin American authors. All these readings allowed her to see the world and find self expression thru seeing her feelings put into words. North American feminist writers helped her express her anger in a way that did not make her seem irrational and allowed her to express it in a good way. Books also showed her the common problem of illiteracy in her country. The amount of people that cannot read or write in Latin America is at a drastic 50%. This is due to people not being able to afford books and those who can really have no interest in reading. This was something her uncle Salvador Allende was trying to change during his term as the president of Chile. He sought to stop the problem of illiteracy by making state published books cheap...
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