Assignment #1: Perfect Paragraphs
In the readings “Homemade Education” by Malcolm X and “Learning to Read” by Frederick Douglass, we can easily see how both authors discuss and define reading and the impact education has had on their life. Fredrick Douglass was born a slave with no formal education but all he wanted to do was learn to read and write. He faced many obstacles in trying to do so. As a slave, Douglass states that he did not have a regular teacher but instead was taught things by his mistress. “Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet had given me the inch, and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell.” Douglass was very appreciative of being taught just the alphabet, he wanted to learn more, and this was just a first step for him.
Douglass read many types of literature growing up a slave, he describes a story he read and the dialogue between the slave and his owner. “The slave was made to say some very smart as well as impressive things in reply to his master – things which had the desired though unexpected effect; for the conversation resulted in the voluntary emancipation of the slave on the part of the master.” I believe that story really spoke to Douglass because he regretted his own existence as a slave and even state “…the thought of being a slave for life began to bear heavily upon my heart.” I believe that Douglass wanted to grasp all the knowledge he could get in order to no longer be a slave but be seen as an equal. Douglass saw reading as an escape from slave world into the real world.