"Story of My Life" and "Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" Compare/Contrast Essay

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In the two autobiographies, “Story of My Life” and “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, both authors describe their challenges they faced to learn how to read and write. There are similarities in the situations they faced, but they addressed them differently. Helen Keller, the author of “Story of My Life” describes her learning process as she begins to understand language use. On the other hand, Frederick Douglass, the author of “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” writes about his difficulty in learning to read and write because of the restrictions of his mistress. In “Story of My Life”, Keller has difficulty understanding that “everything has a name”. When her teacher, Miss Sullivan tried to make her understand that “m-u-g” was a mug and “w-a-t-e-r” is water. However, Keller does not understand and she is frustrated to be in this condition. This causes her to angrily toss a doll that had been given to her by her teacher. However, she eventually learns when Miss Sullivan attempted to explain to her what “w-a-t-e-r” was – a “wonderful cool something that was flowing over [her] hand”. This was how Keller was able to learn that each object had a name. In “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”, Douglass’ mistress had taught him when she was kinder. Now that she is cruel, she forbids him to learn. As Douglass puts it, “nothing seemed to make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper”. This evidently shows she abhors Douglass’ determination to learn. As Douglass was running his errands for his mistress, he overcame this challenge by befriending the white kids in the neighborhoodThis way, he is able to have them teach him. One way these two situations are similar is that the authors receive help in achieving the goal to learn. Miss Sullivan helps Keller understand language whereas

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