`` Allegory Of The Cave `` By Frederick Douglass And The Speech Essay

`` Allegory Of The Cave `` By Frederick Douglass And The Speech Essay

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The way a person is taught from a young age often times affects his or her values and perceptions throughout their life. A person is taught how to think and what to think about but is rarely given the choice of how to perceive this information. This can be seen in Plato 's “Allegory of the Cave,” “Learning to Read and Write,” by Frederick Douglass and the speech, “This is Water” by David Wallace. Each of the three pieces talks about characters being born into enslavement either hypothetically or literally. Being born into enslavement resulted in each of them to seek for freedom in different ways. Only knowing one way to see and think due to the environment arises self-centered thoughts by the protagonist.
Enslavement, while mostly thought of as a physical predicament, can also be used to describe a mental state. Plato described enslavement as “Behold! human beings living in an underground den… here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads” (Plato 1128). In this piece of writing the characters were “born” into enslavement, physically. The environment that they were brought up in is all they know. The characters are limited to seeing just what is directly in front of them. Similar to how Douglass was brought up, unaware of what the world is capable of and what he is being held back from. He said, “I had no regular teacher. My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me… She at first lacked the depravity indispensable to shutting me up in mental darkness” (Douglass 429). Due to the fact that Douglass was enslaved he had little to no education outside of what he was taug...


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...ognized that he was thinking just of himself and not of his surroundings. All of these characters demonstrate that at one point they had self-centered thoughts.
The environment that one lives in shapes the person they grow up to become. The three works of literature, “Allegory of the Cave,” by Plato “Learning to Read,” by Douglass and “This is Water” Wallace’s commencement speech include characters that faced enslavement either physically, mentally or both. With different types of enslavement came different types of freedom and ways of seeking the freedom. In result of enslavement, the characters demonstrated traits of self-centered thoughts. If the characters were brought up in a different environment the outcome of how they think, act and feel the definition of freedom would be different. All aspects an environment affects the way a character will think.

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