Essay on Jonathan Kozol The Human Cost Of An Illiterate Society

926 WordsNov 14, 20134 Pages
Knowledge is an effective factor in which human society relies on. Throughout history, those who were knowledgeable were well-respected, honored and revered. Author Jonathan Kozol writes his essay, “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society,” to project the importance of knowledge and to explain that without it, one can suffer disastrous repercussions. He highlights real-life examples of how people suffer as a result of chronic illiteracy, and his entire essay is an advocacy for knowledge and literacy. Other authors such as Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright would use their personal experiences in completely different settings to highlight the power of knowledge. Douglass, a man born into slavery, and Wright, a man living through…show more content…
Knowledge has the ability to free Douglass from his social injustice. This realization foreshadows Douglass’ career in the future; as he is no longer enslaved. As history continues and times have changed, the power of knowledge still remains the same. Jonathan Kozol is a man that expresses the same belief as Douglass; that knowledge is rewarding. Although the times have changed; Kozol acknowledges the debilitating effect that comes when one is not knowledgeable. Kozol makes this evident in his novel as he states that “Not knowing the right word for the right thing at the right time is a form of subjugation” (165). According to Kozol, knowledge determines the way society views an individual. An illiterate person will struggle in a coerced society. Therefore, the author informs the audience the blessing it is to have knowledge because they will be set free from being socially enslaved. As a result, the significance of knowledge and its blessings grants freedom against social injustice. Douglass and Wright both experience similar reactions to their newly gained knowledge. After finding access to a library, Wright begins to read and learn more about different perspectives and the way others think. He eventually realizes, through his readings, that he is hurt by what he learns as is evident in quotation “But to feel that there were feelings denied me, that the very breath of life itself was beyond my reach, that more than anything hurt, wounded me,”

More about Essay on Jonathan Kozol The Human Cost Of An Illiterate Society

Open Document