The Abolitionists Soul
In “Learning To Read and Write”, By Frederick Douglass, Douglas discusses how he seceded in learning to read and write, and the obstacles he faced during slavery in the early 1800’s. Furthermore, he speaks about the tactics he used to succeed, being that slave’s weren’t supposed to know how to read and write. As well, I see that he tells how his mistress, the wife of his owner, would get upset if he was caught reading a newspaper, or anything that she considered would be teaching of any sort to Douglas. Douglas states, “The first step had been taken”, which were powerful words to me because to him, the world had opened his eyes to something that was that he ...view middle of the document...
The author faces many conflicts in his quest for knowledge. One of those conflicts is that at the time, Douglas felt that, “Learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing.” Learning to read had showed him how other slaves had just settled for what they had been given, and that he was he was born to be a slave, and this is just how things were, but the more he learned, the more he felt he had a voice, and the only way he would be heard is to become free. Despite his many efforts, he was still able to teach himself how to read and write, which he knew would help him in his quest for freedom.
Douglas writes, “I was a ready listener. Every little while, I could hear something about the abolitionist.” It took Douglas a little while to find what the word meant, but he soon found it meant if a slave got away, or set a barn on fire and got away with it, but most importantly, those who killed a slave master. Douglas claimed that the dictionary also helped him very little in his discovery. Instead, he had to listen to when the word was used and gravitate to the information being provided around, when his peers were to speak.
The conclusion that Douglas arrives at in his narrative is that, he was able to use the very limited resources around him, to teach himself how to read and write, despite sometimes having to manipulate the smarter white kids to teach him, which was a n amazing strategy to use at such a hostile time in society. By Douglas utilizing newspapers lying around the house, by him having his mistress teach him the alphabet, and learning letters at the lumber yard, all were things that helped him in his road to learning to read and write.