“What he most awful. that I most desired. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 48 ) Frederick Douglass states that cognition and literacy are great signifiers of power. Slaves are considered belongings and are non treated with regard. and in his novel. Douglass expresses how he was able to get the better of the affraies that he had to confront contrasting it with how of import it is to be literate. From being a former slave for life. to the instruction that his Masterss revoked from him.
this man’s life was filled with adversities. In this novel. Douglass expresses the importance of cognition by depicting how he was able to larn. read. and write. besides what he discovered by going literate.
This essay focuses on the ways literacy played an of import function in his life. how cognition can on occasion do you experience severely. and how cognition being suppressed from those who are slaves affected the running of the slave system in the United States.
“There can be no freedom without instruction. ” This sentence was written by a slave named Fredrick Douglass. During bondage. “masters… maintain their slaves therefore ignorant” ( Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass pg. 19 ) hence. to maintain them from arising against their proprietors and doing pandemonium throughout the South. Douglass writes how he was unable to go on having the instruction that his kept woman started to supply him with because her hubby instructed her to make otherwise. “A nigga should cognize nil but to obey his master-to bash as he is told to make.
Learning would botch the best nigga in the universe. If you teach a slave how to read. they would go unwieldy and have no value to his maestro. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 47 )
The mistress’ hubby understood that by keeping slave’s appreciation of cognition the proprietors will invariably hold them under control. If slaves were informed that there was something called abolishment which would supply them with freedom. so they would discontinue to remain on the land of their proprietors. and even more significantly. non let their proprietors to have them and rebuttal. But something happened in Douglass’ life that assisted him to trail after the power of cognition. With the sudden alteration of his kept woman handling him as a adult male of no rights from antecedently portraying him as an equal caused an disturbance to the slaves owned by her hubby. Douglass. nevertheless. started to detect what possible his cognition could really make for him. He states. “Nothing seemed to do her more angry than to see me with a newspaper. She seemed to believe that here lay the danger” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 51 ) By Douglass being capable of reading he realized the more he read “the more I was led to loathe and hate my enslavers. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 53 ) Douglass’ literacy allowed him to understand what freedom is and his “determination to be free” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 81 ) merely continued to turn. Frederick Douglass’ life was affected ill by being literate at first. By reading different literature pieces like The Columbian Orator. Douglass discovered that there was a hope for him to go a free adult male. However. “Learning to read had been a expletive instead than a approval. ” ( Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass pg. 53 )
Douglass displays how awful he feels for non being able to make anything to liberate himself. He sometimes wishes that he was every bit nescient as his fellow-slaves. who were used to their status of non being cognizant that there was something that could potentially convey them freedom. He states. “I was broken in organic structure. psyche. and spirit. My natural snap was crushed. my mind languished. the temperament to read departed. the cheerful flicker that lingered about my oculus died ; the dark dark of bondage closed in upon me ; and lay eyes on a adult male transformed into a beast! ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 73 ) These statements Douglass shows how the thought of freedom tormented him and turned him violent. Being so near. but yet so far from freedom causes him to endure. The cognition which he has acquired is of no usage when he is a slave and seems to be a useless property. However. Douglass does in fact “finally win in making…escape from slavery” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 103 ) his freedom allows him to talk his head and set his cognition to good usage.
Although he is free. Douglass does non turn his dorsum on “a brother slave” . ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 103 ) Alternatively. Frederick Douglass has “been engaged in pleading the cause of my brethren. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 117 ) Many of these slave adult females and work forces are trapped by bondage. African americans were continually restrained of their freewill and forced to populate a life of functioning the “White Man” . “It was the blood-stained gate. the entryway to hell of bondage. through which I was approximately to pass” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 23 ) . Controlled by white work forces. slaves were trained to believe that they were inferior to the proprietor. “There were no beds given to the slaves. unless one coarse cover to be considered such. and none but work forces and adult females had these. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 26 ) The slaves were controlled by their deficiency of cognition and fright of the Master. “By far the larger portion of the slaves knows as little of their ages as Equus caballuss know of theirs. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 19 ) Ignorance besides played a major function in the controlling of bondage.
Every maestro was good cognizant that they needed to cognize about everything. and the slaves had to cognize about nil. This would let the slave proprietors to non worry about a rebellion against them. since instruction was non offered nor was it allowed on the slaves ain clip to partake in larning. The slaves were convinced that “a still tongue makes a wise head” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 34 ) since that was what they were told to believe. By slaves holding no instruction and no chances to talk freely the slave system flourished. “A individual word from the white work forces was enough-against all our wants. supplications. and entreaties-to sunder forever the dearest friends. dearest kindred. and strongest ties known to human existences. ” ( Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass pg. 58 )