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Paper Topic:

Literacy, reading and writing, seems to produce a sense of self-hatred and alienation in Douglass. Why is this so?

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Slavery and Education as Contrasting Themes in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass : An American Slave

Slavery serves as the main theme in Frederick Douglas autobiography . In this book , Douglass narrates how he fights against the horrors of slavery , using his determination as his weapon and eradicating ignorance as his shield . Because of this , it should be noted that the author also explores the idea of education as an important theme in the novel Furthermore , the author tries to draw the

relationship of slavery and education as contrasting or incompatible entities . While slavery emphasizes human ignorance , education eliminates it though . When Douglass finally gained literary , he was enlightened on how ignorance was being used to employ slavery among his people . Acquiring education however , both mean self-alienation and self-hatred for Douglass as he saw the horrible face of a monster called slavery . By understanding the situation of his people trapped and imprisoned by slavery , Douglass felt that education , although an eye-opener is also a curse he has to bear Thus , slavery and education , being incompatible with each other , can never occur to a person at the same time

Education as a curse

At first , Frederick Douglass thought that to escape from slavery , he should move to another area , a more urbanized one . He actually said that A city slave is almost a freeman , compared with a slave on the plantation . He is much better fed and clothed , and enjoys privileges altogether unknown to the slave on the plantation . There is a vestige of decency , a sense of shame that does not much to curb and check those outbreaks of atrocious cruelty enacted on the plantation (Douglass 38 . He thought that escaping from slavery is like moving in to another area . However , he later recognized the importance of education in gaining freedom . When he was starting to learn how to read and write though , Douglass suddenly felt that education is not as enlightening as he thought . Education is actually a curse , saying that I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing . It had given me enough of my wretched condition , without the remedy (Douglass 47 . Because of this , education suddenly served as a source of hatred for Douglass . As his eyes was slowly opening and seeing the rays of knowledge , he was also witnessing the horrible scenarios of slavery . He compared education as .opened my eyes to the horrible pit , but to no ladder upon which to get out (Douglass 47 Nevertheless , Douglass still continued his plan to get away from slavery using the knowledge he has gained . However , he finally realized that eradicating ignorance does not seem to be the sole way of salvation from slavery . Douglass also saw the importance of confidence and determination in to break the chain of slavery , saying that This battle with Mr . Covey as the turning point in my career as a slave...

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