Essay on Literacy in African-American Literature

analytical Essay
2285 words
2285 words

Levels of Literacy in African-American Literature - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Song of Solomon, and Push Through literacy will come emancipation. So runs a theme throughout the various selections we have read thus far. But emancipation comes in many forms, as does literacy. The various aspects of academic literacy are rather obvious in relation to emancipation, especially when one is confronted with exclusion from membership in the dominant culture. In the various slave narratives we have examined, all but one writer, Mary Prince, managed to achieve academic literacy to varying degrees (although, Mary Prince was in the process of learning to read and write). And even though she was not literate, Mary was still able to have her story told. Frederick Douglass, made it a point to attain literacy at any cost. Most, but not all, of Toni Morrison's characters in Song of Solomon appear to have attained at least a modicum of literacy. In Push, Sapphire has her protagonist, Precious, pointed down a long road toward at least a minimal form of academic literacy that will allow her to become a more functional human being and a much more productive member of society. What part does literacy play in the advancement of the individual, and to what lengths will one go to achieve it? What part must the individual play to make certain that literacy leads to the desired or implied advancement? And, finally, is there a cost for literacy, or is it always something gained? Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass As a relatively young man, Frederick Douglass discovers, in his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, that learning to read and write can be his path to freedom. Upon discovering that... ... middle of paper ... ...he past, but Douglass and Precious can use their connections with the past as means to avoid its mistakes. So all three find a personal use for what once was reality as a promise for a more fulfilling reality in the future. And in a certain sense, all three find emancipation through their disparate relationships with literacy. Works Cited Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The Classic Slave Narratives. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: New American Library, 1987. 243-331. Gates, Henry Louis. The Classic Slave Narratives. New York: New American Library, 1987. Graff, Harvey J. The Literacy Myth: Literacy and Social Structure in the Nineteenth-Century City. New York: Academic Press, 1979. Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1987. Sapphire. Push. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the levels of literacy in african-american literature, including narrative of the life of frederick douglass, song of solomon, and push
  • Analyzes how emancipation comes in many forms, especially when one is confronted with exclusion from membership in the dominant culture.
  • Analyzes how frederick douglass discovers that learning to read and write can be his path to freedom.
  • Analyzes how frederick douglass felt an overpowering desire to become literate because he saw literacy as his pathway out of the bonds of slavery
  • Analyzes how milkman learns the importance of the past and how it relates to the present. he must sever life-long bonds with his one true friend, guitar.
  • Analyzes milkman's ability to transcend time and space as he discovers his history. he elicits from her an objective account of what happened to his father and pilate after their father was murdered.
  • Analyzes how precious's love for her child drives her forward. she is smart enough to realize how important literacy could be in her life.
  • Narrates the life of frederick douglass in the classic slave narratives by henry louis gates, jr.
  • Opines that graff, harvey j., the literacy myth, and social structure in the nineteenth-century city.
  • Analyzes how toni morrison introduces milkman dead and guitar bains to platonic dialectic in song of solomon.
  • Analyzes what literacy means to sapphire's precious in her novel, push.
  • Explains that literacy signifies hope for the future, not only for precious, but also for her children.
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