Learning to Read and Write Essays

1169 WordsMar 10, 20135 Pages
Alana Roberts Essay I February 26th, 2013 “Learning to Read and Write” by Fredrick Douglas is a story about a slave breaking the bondage of ignorance by learning to read and write. During the course of 7 years Douglas discreetly teaches himself to read and write by means of stealing newspapers, trading food with poor white boys for knowledge and books, as well as copying his master’s handwriting. Douglas learning to read gave him extreme awareness of his condition as he says “…I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy” (Page 168-169). With his new consciousness he suffered with depression envying his fellow slaves for their…show more content…
Ignorance also befalls on the oppressors. Douglas sheds light on how slave owners prayed to Christ, went to church every Sunday and yet mistreated people to the upmost degree and punished them for reading. Southerners often justified slavery by saying they were bringing Christianity to slaves. Christianity is a religion based on love and compassion for your fellow man. Since the Europeans did not believe the Africans were worthy to be in the same human category as them they dehumanized them relating them to animals. Although the bible says “we must never treat any part of God's creation with contempt. When we do, we are indirectly treating our Creator with contempt.” If they did not believe slaves were worthy to be treated as God’s creation then why did they push their religion on them? The answer is to keep them controlled and confused. Europeans stripped Africans of their traditions starting with their name, this in some degree made Africans like blank canvases ready to be painted anew. Christianity gave slaves hope that one day their situation will change if they prayed hard enough and abide by Christ words. It also gave them a brand new vision of what God should look like. White is good, Black is bad. In the Christian bible they saw Jesus as a white man so in turn they could have related the goodness of Christ to the “goodness” of their masters. Some slaves even argued about whose master was more kind. I guess this is what
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