The Effect of Education on the Pursuit of Freedom

Topics: Frederick Douglass, Slavery in the United States, The Columbian Orator Pages: 2 (664 words) Published: January 2, 2011
Without education, there can never be true freedom. Although your body may be free, your mind will remain confined by ignorance. Education frees your mind to the wonders of the world and allows you to think for yourself. In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave by Frederick Douglass, Douglass realizes that he needs to be educated. In order to be totally free, one must first educate him or herself.

In Frederick Douglass’s narrative, he first realizes that in order to gain freedom, he needs to educate himself. When Hugh Auld forbids Sophia Auld from educating Douglass, he realizes that in order to gain his freedom, he must have knowledge. Hugh Auld says that if a slave educated, he will never be satisfied with being a slave and will rebel against his master. By keeping slaves uneducated, they remain ignorant and will not question why the slaveholders have the right to own people and use them as slaves. Auld reveals that a slave will become corrupted if given knowledge. If a slave is given a tiny bit of information, the slave will then become curious and keep digging to gain more information, until the slave is satisfied. Then, the slave will start to question the master and loathe him. Because of Auld, Douglass comes to understand that slaveholders maintain their power over slaves by keeping them uneducated and ignorant.

With education comes literacy, the ability to read and write. If a slave is able to read, he/she can then read what others have written, including works by abolitionists. By reading, the slave will gain knowledge of the true cruelty of slavery through the eyes of another. Slaves may then feel that they will be supported if they try to escape. By reading the works of abolitionists, slaves become aware of people who are willing to help them escape. Slaves would then know that if they try to escape, they will have others who support them and will help them. This would give them a sense of security, a bit of confidence to...
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