• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Frederick Douglass Narrative of the Life of an American Slave demonstrates how mental freedom is not enough for the freedom and self-realization of man and it also raised questions about public education in a democratic society.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Emily Gallegos Education 92A TA: Dora 20 November 2006 The Road to Freedom Antoine de Saint-Exupury, a 20th century French writer, said that he "[knew] but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind." Similarly, Frederick Douglass also considers knowledge as the gateway to liberation. Douglass was born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in the early 1800s. Through his personal experiences he details how knowledge is important, although not purely enough, for the freedom and self-realization of man. Douglass feels strongly about the issue of knowledge acquisition because of his circumstances in his own life. Growing up, he knew very little about his own existence. "A want of information concerning [his past] was a source of unhappiness." (Douglass 15) His ignorance was a strategic move on the part of the masters since they suppress the slaves' intelligence so that whites would have the upper hand. Douglass strived to learn to read because literacy would enable him to become a man. ...read more.

Middle

"Learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing." (48) Douglass began to feel isolated since he learned the truth about the unfixable conditions of slavery that he was formerly ignorant to. He now resented the ignorance of other slaves because they were not haunted by thoughts of slavery like Douglass was. He was also wary of whites because they posed a threat to his independence since they could take advantage of him like they had before with other slaves. However, he had successfully achieved mental emancipation and was now able to speak, read, and write the same language as slave owners, allowing him to formulate his own ideas and opinions that helped him to engage in debates. (48) This, however, was only halfway to attaining true freedom. He had to then utilize his newly gained knowledge to work for physical freedom as well. Literacy itself is not enough to become free. While he is living on the farm of Thomas Auld, a man "destitute of every element of character commanding respect," (57) ...read more.

Conclusion

This is not fair in a a democratic society since everyone should be afforded the same opportunities. Also, it raises the question of how to educate in schools. Since becoming literate is not the only step towards one's independence, a student's physical freedom has to also be considered. This is the same concept that Maria Montessori described. "No one can be free unless he is independent" (Montessori 140) and "this is part of education." (140) Also, Montessori wrote that education "shall help him to diminish...the social bonds, which limit his activity." Frederick Douglass is a great example of defeating social conventions like slavery to earn his liberation. The first step towards freedom and independce was knowledge and then being physically free. Being both physically and mentally independent gave Douglass control over his soul and gave him the courage to escape to New York. Douglass' Narrative of the Life of an American Slave demonstrates how mental freedom is not enough for the freedom and self-realization of man and it also raised questions about public education in a democratic society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Representation of slavery in 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison

    Sethe murdering Beloved is meant to draw attention to a message within the story. It seems this almost mythical novel is encouraging the readers to think about what the story of 'Beloved' is trying to teach. Sethe is not only physically haunted by her murdered daughter but mentally by her

  2. Symbolism in "Two Kinds". In "Two Kinds", Amy Tan uses symbolism to express ...

    [she]hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations" (TAN 289). Her troubled feelings of inadequacy that her mother's expectations created are exemplified through the desperation that is portrayed; her self esteem decreases and she begins to feel useless after the constant failures she undergoes.

  1. "Lord of the Flies" and "Escape from Saddam": the Many Roads to Freedom

    desert, it was still unknown to the young man travelling and he was forced to go out looking for shelter and food just as the boys did. This is shown as soon as Lewis arrives in Amman and says, "I was a stranger in a strange country.

  2. Own Slave Ship Story - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American ...

    But I knew exactly what happened to them. And my speculations were finally confirmed when we were tossed onto the ships like fish. Whoever protested would get a crack of a whip wherever possible, hands, head, feet, faces, the same whips we would normally use for our cows and horses in farming.

  1. Interpreting Resistance through Gender in Frederick Douglass' and Harriet Jacobs' Slave Narratives

    Auld and numerous white boys for this cause. After Mrs. Auld was told by her husband "that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read" (Douglass 37), she ceased to instruct him and did all she could to prevent him from gaining any further erudition.

  2. Reflection of Society in the "Grapes of Wrath"

    Therefore, Rose of Sharon giving birth to a stillborn symbolizes that the promises of a new life and the continuation of the bloodline are jeopardized. The social issue that The Grapes of Wrath addresses of the Great Depression through Rose of Sharon?s pregnancy is the issue of the decrease in birth rates during Steinbeck?s time.

  1. Unseen analysis of of Miranda Grey and Frederick Clegg from 'The Collector'

    As already mentioned, Clegg uses chloroform and CTC as an anaesthetic both when he kills butterflies and when he kidnaps Miranda, but as he says, you have to ?nip the thorax? if you do not have a killing-bottle. In a way, this is what he does when he refuses to give Miranda the proper medicine to cure her pneumonia.

  2. Study guide questions for Spiegelman's "Maus".

    The train main hid Vladek in the train when they got to the border, and fortunately, helped him return to Sosnowiec. 4. Vladek?s relationships with the people around him tell us a lot about his personality. In my opinion, Art and Vladek?s relationship is good.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work