Frederick Douglass

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Frederick Douglass Pages: 4 (1131 words) Published: October 15, 2014
Due: 10/9/14

(Tue-Thurs) 12:00-1:50

2. What role did literacy play in his life? How did it affect his life? How did control of literacy affect the slave system?

“What he most dreaded, that I most desired.” (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.48) Frederick Douglass states that knowledge and literacy are great forms of power. Slaves are considered property and are not treated with respect, and in his novel, Douglass expresses how he was able to overcome the altercations that he had to face contrasting it with how important it is to be literate. From being a former slave for life, to the education that his masters revoked from him, this man’s life was filled with hardships. In this novel, Douglass expresses the importance of knowledge by describing how he was able to learn, read, and write ,also what he discovered by becoming literate. This essay focuses on the ways literacy played an important role in his life, how knowledge can occasionally make you feel badly, and how knowledge being suppressed from those who are slaves affected the running of the slave system in the United States. “There can be no freedom without education.” This sentence was written by a slave named Fredrick Douglass. During slavery, “masters… keep their slaves thus ignorant” (Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass pg.19) therefore, to keep them from rebelling against their owners and causing chaos throughout the south. Douglass writes how he was unable to continue receiving the education that his mistress started to provide him with because her husband instructed her to do otherwise. "A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. If you teach a slave how to read, they would become unmanageable and have no value to his master." (Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg.47) The mistress’ husband understood that by maintaining slave’s grasp of knowledge the...
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