Alexie And Douglass Essay

1312 words - 6 pages

Education: A Blessing in Disguise
Learning to read and write, or getting an education in general, is something that is easily handed to us in the world today. Imagine living in a world where you were expected to be uneducated, illiterate, and stupid. In the texts “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie and “Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass, these young boys grew up in different worlds where they were looked down upon and were expected to fail due to the standards they grew accustomed to. Although Douglass and Alexie underwent contrasting hardships on their educational journey, they both shared the realization that learning to read and write was ...view middle of the document...

Unlike Alexie, who was surrounded by books in his own home and was given the opportunity to have an education in school, Douglass was a slave; he was not allowed to read or write. His mistress, Master Hugh’s wife, would teach him the alphabet. However, not long after, things changed; her attitude and ways of being were different, possibly due to her husband influencing her to follow the customs that were placed during that time. When Douglass picked up a book or newspaper it was quickly taken away from him. He was not about to give up. What Douglass had learned from his mistress influenced him to fight for a better education. Douglass says in his text that “mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the inch, and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell” (119). He did not want to be a slave for life. Instead, he wanted to learn to read and write, and so he did just that.
These two boys, Alexie and Douglass, grew up in very similar yet contrasting worlds. Due to their ethnic backgrounds these boys were expected to fail in life; they weren’t supposed to get an education due to the norms during their times. Douglass states in his text that “…education and slavery were incompatible with each other” (119), and that is what he grew up knowing. Others viewed a smart Indian or African American as dangerous because they could stand up for themselves instead of staying quiet like they were expected to. Alexie and Douglass were both stuck in a position where their futures were in jeopardy. Alexie was not expected to make a name for himself and Douglass was doomed to be a slave for life. Not only did these boys both have a corrupt future ahead of them, they both also decided to take control of their lives. Although they grew up in different time periods, they shared the same views on the importance of an education. They both saw having an education as a sense of freedom and self-worth. While they did attain an education in different ways, they both had determination and a solid sense of self-motivation. Each boy had a certain resourcefulness in how they educated themselves. For Douglass, he started out by making friends with some white boys who would give him tips on learning. He then got ahold of a book called “The Columbian Orator”, which he read until he could fully understand the relationship between master and slave. By reading that book, Douglass states that “the reading of these documents enabled me to utter my thoughts, and to meet the arguments brought forward to sustain slavery; but while they relieved me of one difficulty, they brought on another even more painful...

Find Another Essay On Alexie and Douglass

Knowledge gained outside of a formal education

641 words - 3 pages things. They become less ignorant of the problems and situations that may be surrounding them and often feel the urge to change because of that. This applies to Sherman Alexie. From the time of the colonial settlements, Native Americans were seen as savage, stupid and dirty. Old mindsets die hard as even now, they are “expected to be stupid” (Alexie). Reading allowed him to break free of such labels, being respected as an author well-versed in

The Importance of Reading and Writing

789 words - 3 pages Living in the Southern United States during eighteenth century was a difficult time for African-Americans. Majority of them were slaves who received manipulation, sexual abuse and brutally whips to the spin. They were treated this way in order to stop them from gaining hope, knowledge and understanding of the world. Some African Americans managed to obtain these qualities from books and use them to escape from slavery. Frederick Douglass, an

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain

Psychological Egoism Theory

2240 words - 9 pages The theory of psychological egoism is indeed plausible. The meaning of plausible in the context of this paper refers to the validity or the conceivability of the theory in question, to explain the nature and motivation of human behavior (Hinman, 2007). Human actions are motivated by the satisfaction obtained after completing a task that they are involved in. For example, Mother Teresa was satisfied by her benevolent actions and

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Julia Margaret Cameron

1406 words - 6 pages At a time when women were looked upon as being homemakers, wives, mothers and such the late 1850's presented a change in pace for one woman in specific. Photography was discovered in 1826 and soon after the phenomenon of photography was being experimented with and in turn brought new and different ways of photo taking not only as documenting real time, but also conceptualizing a scene in which an image would be taken. Julia Margaret Cameron will

Evaluation of School Improvement

1403 words - 6 pages The evaluation process should be progressive to incorporate overall planning, implement changes, which contribute to success. In order to focus on school climate and norms, the evaluation design must include the students, instructions, and outcomes to improve communication and building-level concerns to be address in this response. School Climate and Social Norms The school principal, other staff leaders, and personnel set the tone and the

Case Study: The Benefits of Animal Testing

1757 words - 7 pages Nine year old Amy has already had a rough start in life. She was born with an abnormal heart that hinders her everyday activities. Amy is unable to keep up with kids her own age because she often tires out easily. As a consequence, she has very little friends and is often alone. Amy is forced to take different medications everyday just to survive. Amy’s life consists of medicine, doctors, and constant hospital visits. However, Amy is due for a

Similar Essays

Education And Identity Synthesis Essay

1132 words - 5 pages frightening part. The authors Frederick Douglass, Maya Angelou, and Sherman Alexie demonstrate previously stated principles through similar appeals of logos and pathos, presented in different ways. These author’s use logos to show that education is a form of exposure to different ways of thinking, creating danger in knowledge. “He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of

Education And Identity Essay

1327 words - 5 pages education. Similar to Douglass, Alexie also changed how he was perceived in society, becoming someone people thought he couldn’t be. Malcom X is yet another example of how education can break assumed identities. Growing up with a troubled background, Malcom X found himself an illiterate young man stuck behind the cold bars of prison. In this time, he did not sulk. He did quite the opposite; he matured and bettered himself during the low points of his

Synthesis Essay

977 words - 4 pages through the liberation and empowerment that comes from education. By obtaining a higher level of education, an individual can create their own identity, rather than conform to the stereotypes placed on them by society. Works Cited Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” Malcolm X “Learning to Read” Sherman Alexie “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” Maya Angelou “Graduation”

Education And Identity Essay

1118 words - 4 pages time, education gradually went hand in hand with success which caused many people to focus on their knowledge of the world. As slavery became common in the United States, slaves were expected to be uneducated and remain slaves for the remainder of their lives. However, Frederick Douglass used education to defy his assumed identity; he broke the stereotype and created a new name for himself. At a young age, Douglass realized “the pathway from