Discussing Enlightenment in 'The Allegory of the Cave' and 'The Library Card'

890 Words4 Pages
The Cave vs. The South In “The Allegory of the Cave” by Plato, and “The Library Card” by Richard Wright, the authors discuss “enlightenment” in different ways and in very different contexts. Plato’s work is primarily an attempt to get the reader to think about reality itself and the role of one’s ability to perceive reality in their experience of the world. Wright’s essay primarily discusses the impact the written words of others had on his perception of the world. However, both works have some significant similarities in theme. In “The Allegory of the Cave", Plato describes a metaphor that compares the way we perceive and what truely is reality. The main idea behind this allegory is that everything we perceive are imperfect reflections of the true forms. In this story, Plato describes a cave in where prisoners are tied up and forced to look at a wall. The various meanings in the allegory can be seen in the beginning with the prisoners whom are confined within the darkness of the cave. They are tied down and unable to turn their heads to see what's behind them. Behind the prisoners, the puppeteers whom are casting the shadows on the wall create the prisoners' are reality. The allegory is told as a conversation between Socrates and Glaucon (Plato's brother). The allegory itself isn't the story, but it's the conversations between Glaucon and Socrates. In "The Library Card" Wright tells the story of his escape from his own "cave" of ignorance. When discussing a list of names he read about, he asks "Were these men real? Did they exist or had they existed?" (p.4 par. 8) depicting his own lack of understanding. As Socrates describes the cave and its prisoners, he states that the prisoners would inherently be ignorant as to what is truely reality. As the readers, we all are aware that the people behind the prisoners are creating the shadows to represent reality
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