The ability to read and write has been considered the most powerful tool for emancipation and the realization of a couple of other things in the society. Education has been considered as the powerful tool against oppression and savagery, and as the adage confirms, “a pen is mightier than a sword.” Many writers out there have crusaded for the importance of education to the society and the importance of a nation educating its people, and especially the girls. Frederick Douglass is one writer from the America’s history of slavery who managed to learn to read and write under his master, his story “Learning to Read and Write,” explores his struggles as he tried to read and write under his master. Nicholas Kristof, a contemporary writer, penned an op-ed in the New York Times on “What’s So Scary About Smart Girls?” where he talks about the importance of educating the girl child. In this paper, we will compare and contrast the two articles, while drawing a cultural reference to the analysis, checking whether they are effective, current, or outdated.
Douglass lived during a time when slavery and education were entirely incompatible; his mistress, who had earlier been the best and treated him like a fellow human being, suddenly changed and treated him according to her husband’s precepts, or even worse (Douglass, 185). The change meant that she could not allow him to read anymore, and when she found him reading a newspaper she could just grab and take it away from him. Kristof’s