Overcoming Obstacles

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Reading, Literacy Pages: 3 (906 words) Published: March 18, 2010
“The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn,” (ThinkExist). This quote was written in 1928 by an American author of science fiction, Alvin Toffler, and that quote holds true until this day. In “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” by Sherman Alexie, he writes about the difficulties that he experienced as a child overcoming the intellectual limit that was put upon his culture, in this case American Indians. Another writer who experienced some of the harshest moments of American history and is always mentioned when discussing overcoming illiteracy is Fredrick Douglas who wrote “Learning to Read and Write.” Both of these authors have experienced limitations in their culture and yet strived to overcome them to better themselves and break away from the norms of society. Knowing to read and write opens a door to liberation by means of curiosity, intelligence and self efficacy which is something both Sherman Alexie and Fredrick Douglas strived for. The first step towards developing an idea is curiosity. Sherman Alexie was surrounded by his father’s love for books and he started reading before he even knew the alphabet, “I can remember picking up my father’s books before I could read,” (Alexie 14). Sherman obviously admired his father’s love for books and continued this trend his entire life which eventually led to him becoming a writer and an advocate of advancement in his cultures education. Yet, in school, all the American Indians were considered dumb and uneducated and therefore never spoke in class and were looked down upon. Sherman on the other hand strived not to fail like his classmates. Though he went through criticism of his classmates, he knew that what he was doing, in one way or another, was something worth fighting for. Many children, especially at a young age are always ridiculed by the simplest thing, and in his reservation, the...

Cited: Alexie, Sherman. “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me.†The Writers Presence:
A Pool of Readings. Ed. Donald McQuade and Ed. Robert Atwan. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martins 2009. 13-16. Print.
Douglass, Fredrick. “Learning to Read and Write.†The Writers Presence:
A Pool of Readings. Ed. Donald McQuade and Ed. Robert Atwan. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martins 2009. 94-99. Print.
ThinkExist. Copyright ® ThinkExist 1999-2010. 23 February 2010.
. Online.
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