Fredrick Douglass, “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge”

16 Sep

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13 Responses to “Fredrick Douglass, “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge””

  1. aquijije September 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    This article relates to all three in a sense of acknowledging a problem and trying to overcome the obstacle. Fredrick Douglas here tells about his upbringing in education and his never ending will to let someone take his knowledge from him. He expresses his alienation and scolding for his interest in a different direction than the life he was told to live. He discusses his opinion on ‘slaves’ ‘education’ and ‘foundation’ as key words to his struggle to progress.

    Much like the other articles, this one continues on with the message of not surrendering to one’s pursuit for more than one has, in an educated stand point. In regards to media, theres a small link here in page 75 dealing with treatment and what happens when environment mixes with knowledge. Venturing into this, many believe that were we live or how we were raised decides who we are and is impossible to avoid. What these three articles did was disprove that theory, and make advancement ever more possible.

  2. Martha Arellano September 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    In this passage Frederick Douglass describes his troublesome life of being a slave. H e wrote about his master and master’s wife who was like a mother to him in the beginning. She was kind and gentle and treated like less of a slave and more like a son. Mrs. Sophia eventually even taught Frederick how to read after he had asked her. After time passed, his ‘owner’, the husband of who was like a mother to him, didn’t approve of his wife teaching him how to do anything other than what he was supposed to do. Mr. Auld explained to his wife thats he shouldn’t know anything because he is a slave. He stated “if you give a nigger an inch he will take an ell.” For Frederick, learning the alphabet had been his inch. After the whole situation with her husband occurred, Mrs. Sophia was so angry. She dreaded seeing Frederick doing anything having to do with letters. This is when Frederick had begun to be treated poorly.
    This is a strong lesson to anyone at all about how to never give up. Frederick was a slave and in the beginning was treated very well, the ignorance of other changed that for him and he was eventually mistreated. But throughout his life, he didn’t once give up. In a way he even states that if it weren’t for Mrs. Sophia, he wouldnt be who really is today. She may have treated him poorly toward the end but she was the motherlike figure he had in the beginning who helped him seek through it all.

  3. Arianna Ramkarran September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    In this article, Frederick Douglass describes his life as a young slave and his need to learn to read. In the beginning, Douglass liked the family he served. The master’s wife treated him like a son, which made him more sensitive and he did not want to disappoint her. One day, Mrs. Sophia began to teach Douglass how to read. She was so proud of Douglass because he was learning fast, and Mrs. Sophia shared the exciting news with her husband. Mr. Auld was not happy when his wife told him the news. He felt that if Douglass knew how to read then he would become educated and he won’t want to be a slave anymore. “Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave.” Doing as she was told, Mrs. Sophia stopped teaching Douglass to read and began treated him poorly, “like a slave”. Although Douglass continued to learn to read in secret, he realized that he was a slave and that is all he would ever be.

    This article showed how the whites feared if slaves learned how to read. They felt that knowledge only belonged to the free. If a slave learned how to read, then he would not want to be a slave anymore because he would realize that slavery was wrong. The white men would hold no power over them because they were intelligent and knew right from wrong. Although Mrs. Sophie changed when her husband told her she couldn’t teach Douglass anymore, he didn’t blame her because he realized it wasn’t her fault. He considered them both “victims”.

  4. Andrew Burke September 20, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    This article heavily relates to the novel by Raymond Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451.” Frederick Douglass was censored from learning to read because he was a slave, however he wasn’t always treated this way. His mistress, Mrs. Sophia, had been teaching him how to read, until her husband forbade her to do so. The slave system ran under a belief that people were unfit for slavery if they were literate, but this didn’t stop Frederick Douglass. Like Montag, Douglass’ curiosity got the best of him and he continued to read in secret. Through interaction with white people his age, Douglass found that others disagreed with his master and believed he should be free, and able to learn to read and write. SImilar to Montag’s experiences in “Fahrenheit 451”, Douglass finds people that have beliefs against the mass media’s, who believe literacy and education are essential for all.

  5. Shatira Hamlet September 20, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    In this passage, Frederick Douglas describes his relationship with his master’s wife. He lets us know that their bond was one of a kind. Furthermore, he lets us know how warm and caring she was towards him. It got to the point where she taught Douglas how to read just because he asked her to teach him. She treated him like he was her son. But when her husband found out that his wife taught his slave how to read he highly disapproved of it. The husband said “If you teach him how to read, he’ll want to know how to write, and this accomplished, he’ll be running away with himself.” To me this shows how the husband knew that if Douglas learned how to read and white that he’ll be able to prosper. This bothered the wife, knowing that the husband was upset. She started to treat Douglas like a “slave” again. This bad treatment didn’t stop Douglas from learning, he did any and everything to learn. He made the other little kids teach him how to read, by age 13 he mastered it. By reading, Douglas learned that God did not create his people to be slaves. He also learned that he had been cheated out of his liberties. He then realized that without his master’s wife, he wouldn’t be as intelligent as he was, and that she was just as tamed as he was. He did not hate her for the bad treatment.

  6. Jessica Wishart September 20, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Frederick Douglass’s excerpt from Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge was a candid recollection of the trails and tribulations that Douglass experienced in his various attempts to pursue education after being ostracized by his slave master’s wife for being introduced to reading. Unquestionably, even though the relations between Douglass and Mrs.Sophia disintegrated, without her initial encouragement to read, it is unlikely that Douglass would’ve gotten the opportunity to receive any type of formal education elsewhere. Douglass’s recollection brings an aspect of tenderness to the situation of slavery as he recalls the white school boys that aided him in vocabulary lessons. Douglass’s Master, however stern, was correct in his assumption that ignorance was the only way for slaves to be content with they’re living conditions. Douglass’s most grueling task was having to endure the bitterness of a woman that he once regarded as his mother in some sorts. The most excruciating temptation Douglass subjected himself to was the constant news of progress about freedom in the North. Even though this matter was only a small portion of his writing, the involvement of the media intensified his feelings and ambitions of wanting to be emancipated and entitled to his freedom. Media indeed inspired Douglass as well (the play between the slave and the master where the slave was eventually set free).It is rare to find an individual with a spirit that cannot be broken by society, especially in a time of slavery. I commend Douglass for his tireless efforts to learn to read and write without the promise that one day these skills would be able to be of some use to him.

  7. Khaair Morrison September 20, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    Fredrick Douglas truly was a man of thought. The reading really provoked a feeling of happiness and later pain. Douglas went from being taught by his mistress to read and being seen almost as her second son, almost human. Until they realized teaching him to read would make him no longer a slave. In order to keep someone a slave he must be uneducated, not know whats going on, indifferent to their circumstance because they are oppressed that much. Harriet Tubman, the creator of the underground railroad once said “I freed almost 1000 slaves, I could have freed 1000 more if they only knew they were slaves”. It is easy to keep a group of people down or oppressed if they arent educated. Thats why in the world and in America there is such a fight for education. Education is becoming a privilege and not a right.

    I have fought for educational issues and this article made me want to share a video of me fighting for one in modern day America. The powers at be seem to keep us down, and blaming them on budget cuts:

  8. Jacadi Calcano September 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Frederick Douglass recounts his tales of his life back as a slave. As a slave, Douglass first began to read. His master’s wife, who treated him as if he were her own child, taught Douglass how to read and write. Douglass learned the alphabet, began to read small words of three or four letters, and started to write. At the time, providing such education to slaves was an injustice. White slave owners knew that with knowledge, comes power. When Douglass’ master discovered his efforts in becoming literate, he ordered his wife to halt these lessons at once. He warned his wife of how hazardous it was to educate a slave. Although Douglass’ lessons were discontinued, he did not stop there. Douglass continued to read and write against his master’s will. Douglass knew that there was a reason as to why blacks were not allowed to read or right. He knew that education was the key to power and for that reason, Douglass pressed on.

  9. Diana Henriquez September 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Frederick Douglass spoke of his troubles, hardships, and oppression as a slave in America. He told of his early years, where he was treated kindly by the masters wife. He did not have much trouble as the other slaves. When he was told that he was not allowed to learn to read, he realized how bad slavery really was. They didn’t want the slaves educated for then they would realized their true value and take back their freedom. This relates to media because Frederick Douglass is using a popular medium to share his story, as well as getting us to appreciate the educations we receive in America. This is a truly powerful message that needs to be shared with more people nationally, so they can realize how many people would love the opportunity to learn.

  10. Nino Hot September 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Frederick Douglass is a well known person in History. He was a man who grew up with the everyday struggles of an African American slave. However, he stumbled upon a women that was somewhat generous. His master’s wife helped him learn the alphabet until he slowly learned how to read and write. Although she taught him these things, she wasn’t supposed to and could face consiquences if she was caught. This is one reason that her husband had opposed this. This luck of his along with his motivation really helped push the abolishment of slavery. Due to this, he spread word on how unfair life was on every African American and as more of them seeked to be like him, they too slowly began being educated. In Douglass’ view, education was the answer.

  11. Justin Socia September 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Like many other documents I have read about slaves throughout my educational career, Fredrick Douglas explains his upbringing and how slavery effected his life. Blacks were told what must do by society and most blacks lived obediently, following societies norm. Unlike what society tells Douglas to do, he does the exact opposite. He is educated, free and is actively challenging society to change its views. The same could be said for today, though obviously not as harsh. If society says that a certain style is “in” or acceptable, the general audience will begin to assimilate it into their own character. Other styles that are not accepted are repressed and looked down on by society. It is one of the sad realities that have and will continue to accompany society for generations.

  12. Muriel Wilson September 21, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    I absolutely admire Frederick Douglass. Yes there were many smart and brave African Americans throughout history but Mr. Douglass is number one in my opinion. How admirable that despite the physical oppression he faced (by being a slave) he still managed to learn to read and grow and make something of himself. Reading this passage about how he learned to read and discovered that knowledge was the only way to excel in life on his own. Is wordlessly fascinating. I also like the fact that Douglass gives credit to his masters wife, who helped him learn to read and write in secret, while he was a slave on her husband’s plantation.

  13. Grace Figuereo October 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    I have noticed that “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge” by Frederick Douglass and “Fahrenheit 451” have a few similar as to how the power that read and knowledge effects individuals and the government.
    In Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge, Fredrick Douglas was a slave who learned to read by the mistress of his master, after expressing his curiosity to read the Bible. Later on the master prohibited his mistress to continue to teach Douglass to read because in the eyes of the master, slaves should only know to obey their masters. In Fahrenheit 451, reading was prohibited because the government was under the impression that if the people read, individuals would begin thinking thoughts that might lead to ideas that might make it harder for the government to control people. Without reading, people would not be able to formulate their own opinions or be curious enough to speculate questions.
    Both “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge” and “Fahrenheit 451” have relate because the controlling of the slaves in “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge” can resemble the limitation of the society in “Fahrenheit 451”. Both are viewed as a population with no freedom to thinking or obtain knowledge having to obey a higher authority. They also relate because once the each main character gets a bit of insight to read and knowledge, they both continue to pursue the value of reading even though their lives were at risk.

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