The Human Cost Of An Illiterate Society By Jonathan Kozol

Decent Essays

Imagine not being able to read this essay. Many Americans do not posses the ability to do what you just did. In Jonathan Kozol’s essay titled, “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society,” he exposes the complications of being illiterate as well as how it affects a person on a social, personal, and financial level. He brings to light the troubles illiterates go through right from the beginning, and takes repeated stabs at the way they function, and how it brings extreme troubles. Kozol effectively educates and exploits the overlooked troubles of being illiterate, by providing examples of their embarrassment, using repetition emphasizing on their limitations, and making assertions to explain how they survive. Kozol strongly believes being illiterate comes with embarrassment, and he backs up his point with actual examples of people who have gone through this experience. Kozol writes, “Donny wanted me to read a book to him. I told Donny: ‘I can’t read.’ He said: ‘Mommy, you sit down. I’ll read it to you” (4). Parents are supposed to read to their children. However, due to the mother’s illiteracy, she is unable to read to her child. Instead, it is backwards in which her son is forced to read to his mother. This leads to her experience of being embarrassed. At this point she feels as though she is not able to perform the simple duties of a mother, and is therefore unable to fulfill her son wishes. Kozol then includes a story of a man who was stuck on the street and calls 911 for an

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