Many great achievements can be traced back to overcoming disadvantages. Frederick Douglass was born a slave and he had no legal rights. He was taken from his mother shortly after birth, he was uneducated, and oppressed by society, but he did not let his disadvantages in life keep him from his ambitions. Frederick Douglass escaped slavery and became an acclaimed abolitionist speaker and published author. Richard Wright was born a Negro in the South during segregation. Although he was not denied an education, he was denied the same rights as white members of society, but he did not let his disadvantages stop him from becoming an acclaimed author, publishing several books. Helen Keller had different disadvantage in that she was both blind and deaf since infancy. She was able to learn how to communicate through sign language and learned to read and write braille. She did not let her disadvantages keep her from her dreams. She graduated from college and became a renowned speaker and author. After reading Frederick Douglass’, “Learning to Read”, Richard Wright’s, “The Library Card”, Helen Keller’s, “Three Days to See”, it is apparent that all these authors are classified as being able to break through the barriers of their disadvantages through determination, pursuit of education, and courage. Frederick Douglass, Richard Wright, and Helen Keller all showed determination in overcoming different challenges and in doing so, were able to realize their full potential. Fredrick Douglass’ disadvantage in life was that he was born a slave in 1818. Only through determination was he able to escape slavery and go on to become an acclaimed abolitionist speaker as well as a published writer. Frederick Douglass was determined to read and write and taught himself. His mistress taught him the alphabet, but no more. In Douglass’ essay he describes his plan, “The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers” (152). Through reading and writing he gained knowledge which gave him choices and he was determined not to be a slave for life. Richard Wright was born in 1908, but because he was a Negro and born in the South in a time of segregation, he was not afforded opportunities that were given to white members of society. He was fortunate that he was able to go to school and knew how to read. He had a love for reading and a longing for knowledge, however; because he was a Negro he was not allowed to patronize the library to check out books. He was determined to find a way to do so. He not only had to find a way to check out books at the library, but he explains that he had to be careful in doing so. Richard Wright states: I had gone into the library several times to get books for the white men on the job. Which of them would now help me get books? And how could I read them without causing concern to the white men with whom I worked? I had so far been successful in hiding my thoughts and feelings from them, but I knew that I would create hostility if I went about this business of reading in a clumsy way. (247) Through his determination he was able to find a way to get a library card and as a result of his love of reading, became a published writer. Helen Keller had different disadvantages to overcome. An illness that affected her when she was very young rendered her blind and deaf. She was determined to learn how to communicate with those around her. She learned how to read braille and write and became a renowned speaker and author. With her determination she became a respected and valued member of society and an inspiration to all. In her essay, “Three Days to See”, she was determined to teach others to be more appreciative of what they have and take nothing for granted. She writes, “I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken...
Douglass, Frederick. “Learning to Read.” Ideas That Matter. New York: Norton, 2012. 150-157. Print.
Wright, Richard. “The Library Card.” Ideas That Matter. New York: Norton, 2012. 246-256. Print.
Keller, Helen. “Three Days to See.” Ideas That Matter. New York: Norton, 2012. 210-222. Print.
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