Who Dares to Compare?

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Education has always been a part of our way of life since the beginning of time. Not every person is the same; hence the reason everyone learns differently. It all begins at childhood of course; from that parent, parent-like figure or school teacher. However, at a point in one’s life that sense of independence takes over and one finds his or her will to learn more and in their own way. Frederick Douglass and Richard Rodriguez are two great examples of people whose process of learning impacted their lives from childhood to adulthood. Who dares to compare the two? Between these two great men are some similarities even though they grew up in different times and being minorities. From reading the two reading pieces one could focus on how Douglass and Rodriguez’s upbringing, learning methods and their lives were affected by education. From early ages both Douglass and Rodriguez grew up with cultural struggles of being minorities in the United States. In Rodriguez’s book Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez he, “describes his struggles of growing up biculturally – feeling alienated from his Spanish-speaking parents yet not wholly comfortable in the dominant culture of the United States.” Douglass was a slave and during those times the education of a slave was frowned upon. Even though in the beginning Douglass states, “My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me…” Within the struggles both men had no support in their learning early on. Rodriguez speaks of his parents by saying, “Never did I see either of them read [and] entire book. Nor did see them read for pleasure. Their reading consisted of work manuals, prayer books. Newspapers, recipes…” Seeing this could make a person wonder what the real purpose of reading is. Rodriguez goes on to say, “… at home I would hear my mother wondering, (What do you see in your books?” Now in Douglass’ case his mistress began teaching but things changed very quickly. His mistress was instructed by her...
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