The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society

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The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society

The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society by Jonathan Kozol, is an article which illustrates the reality for millions of Americans, and the impact illiteracy has on the overall population and that individual and their family. Kozol draws emotional and personal stories which impact the reader as well as allude that the lack of literacy is in direct correlation with Democracy and how illiterate people will vote, if they even do at all.

Through telling several different personal stories, such as a mother being unable to understand a label and buying an excessive amount of Crisco mistaking it for the chicken which was on the label, Kozol is able to connect the reader to the text and the personal experiences used, creating and anxiety identifiable to all readers as they know themselves that they would be troubled and unable to help their family and their children to the full extent they deserve.

This article not only draws sympathy from the reader by also questions one of the American principles: Democracy. Kozol states that; “so long as 60 million people are denied significant participation, the government is neither of, nor for, nor by, the people.” Adapted from the infamous Gettysburg Address, given by President Lincoln, to reinforce democracy during the civil war, Kozol suggests that when “60 million people are denied significant participation” than American is no longer a fair and equal Democracy. Questioning one of the principles America stands for.

By illuminating two issues and drawing thoughts and emotions from the reader, Kozol has now inspired his audience to question the principles of America further, and question what other problems are there, what can Americans do to help people who are illiterate or semi-literate. How can America revert to fair and equal democracy, instead of drift towards becoming an Oligarchy, ruled and dictated solely by the wealthy and powerful? Kozol’s article inspires...
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