Education as a Reflection of Social Values in Langston Hughes' 'One Friday Morning' and Frederick Douglass' 'Learning to Read and Write'
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The conception of education as a reflection of social values is one of the predominant themes in both Langston Hughes' short story, "One Friday Morning", as well as Frederick Douglass' "Learning to Read and Write", the latter of which is actually the seventh chapter of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. A plethora of similarities exist between these works, both of which include the education of an African American protagonist, the aid of Irish benefactors, and social conventions that seek to prevent both of the aforementioned occurrences from taking place. The principle difference between both of these works is that Douglass' excerpt depicts the epoch of chattel slavery, in which educating of slaves, particularly to read and write, was overtly forbidden. The time period depicted in Hughes' work is subsequent to that of Douglass', and reflects the period when African Americans were entitled to educations yet severely limited, due to their race and color, about where they could be educated. Despite such differences, a closer analysis of the plot and the characterization revealed in both essays shows that each work uses education as a means of demonstrating exemplary qualities in humanity which definitely defied the prejudicial social norms of each respective time period.
Since Frederick Douglass was a slave at the time that he attempted to learn to read and write, every instance in which someone attempted to further his