Mr. Auld believed that teaching a slave was not only a bad idea, but also against the law. Douglass said, “Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world.” At this point, Douglass mentioned that he had a completely new realization, a new thought that black men are slaves because of their lack of knowledge. Douglass understands the main function that literacy plays in a white-dominated society during that time. Teaching a few things to a young slave will make him "unmanageable" and "unfit" to perform his job as a slave. Education will raise a slave’s self-conscious mind and help him to understand the value of a free life.
When Douglass saw how protective Mr. Auld was over keeping him illiterate, he became more curious and concluded that education would be vital to the emancipation of his race. He used his knowledge of the alphabet to eventually learn how to read and write. “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell”(47). The words of Mr. Auld seemed to foretell Douglass too perfectly. It would be too unsafe for whites to educate their slaves because a slave “should know nothing but to obey his master—to do as he is told”(47).
Douglass being able to read was significant because it made him an empowered black man. If Frederick Douglass never learned to read, he would not have been the political activist he was. He would have probably never escaped nor would he have shared the knowledge he gained. The institution of slavery affected both blacks as well as whites. The white and black children could not understand why they could not be friends with each other.
Slaves are not inherently dangerous until they have come to understand and acknowledge the evils of slavery. It is only when they are educated and made aware of the situation that they were forced into, that they loathe the concept of being enslaved. Further, this enlightenment threatens the entire foundation of slavery as the enslaved have the mental capability to rebel against their master, although a majorit... ... middle of paper ... ... easy life is hardly ever celebrated; rather those who led difficult lives and succeeded are those we admire. Douglass is celebrated for overcoming his hardships and freeing himself from the shackles of slavery. His journey was rocky and his battle was difficult but,“…after a long, tedious effort for years, I finally succeeded in learning how to write.” (49) Knowledge set him free.
Therefore, by him establishing his own identity on his own terms he catapulted his career as an abolitionist and his own claim to freedom. Douglass took an enormous risk but it was necessary for him to assert his right to define himself and to authenticate his Narrative as a first-hand account of the reality of slavery so that he could firmly impress it's evils on the American people. He knew that the political world had to change because slaves could not become free on their own due to the many factors working against them. His own self reliance led him to freedom but he was one of the blessed few and he credited his good fortune to a Higher Power because he knew he succeeded against great odds.
The book broadens your view of slavery and shows you every opportunity a slave had to escape to the promise land; they would take it. Also, the book shows how whites viewed and feared runaways, and how the slavery institution retaliated to this ultimate form of resistance. The letters from free slaves are very heart felt because after they spent time actually enjoying their freedom, it gives you an understanding of how content and blessed they felt after being free which really made them appreciate their freedom more than any other born free man. Also, they had to carry the burden and guilt that their kin were still held in bondage and may never taste freedom.
He eperienced no freedom as a slave, and was just a piece of property. His strong yearning for freedom led him to flee his master, only to find he was now looked upon by most as a free inferior black man. This strongly lessened his ability to pursue happiness. He did find a slight success in the American dream through his paper, but it was tainted because he was trying to get justice for his oppressed people. In Douglass's life the failures of the American dream far outweigh the successes, and one will find the reason for this imbalance is simply the color of Douglass's skin.
He also became an active participant in the abolitionist movement in 1838. Michael Scot’s response toward Frederick Douglass was that gaining knowledge was more of a dissatisfaction rather than a worthy accomplishment for the reason that education made him realize he had no other option to his condition. For Frederick Douglass, learning
This ability allowed him to overcome the obstacle of not being able to understand or communicate with his new environment and allowed him to be recognized amongst common slaves. This allowed Equiano to escape his slaveholder's unjust idea that the enslavement was justified due to the fact that slaves were unequal. If this opportunity did not present itself, the opportunity for him to be able to communicate with those who helped him escape slavery who have never been experience. Thus, the achievement of learning a new language allowed Equiano to overcome his fear of the white man. After Equiano overcomes the fear that his owners are of a supernatural force that may kill and eat him, he begins to try to befriend his masters and act in ways to please them.
Drawing upon Fredrick Douglass experience Fredrick Douglass overcame such harsh obstacles with true grit and strife. H became educated against all the hardships in his life. As a slave, Fredrick Douglass was not supposed to learn due to the fact that he wasn’t seen as a human. His perseverance gave him the strength to continue learning, to truly see how people should be treated. Even from learning Fredrick Douglass still had the perception that he was a slave for life due to the oppression from the slave owners.