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).
And the lack of education left their minds dulled to any thoughts beyond what they already knew which was just their own miserable condition. To read this narrative is to hear an authentic, truthful voice in Douglass who throws out the flowery language of his day to paint an accurate portrait of the life of a slave to make us believe his story and sympathize with his cause. Douglass struggles to find his own identity and does so through self-reliance against all odds. He notes that he is a great exception and that in order for slavery to end, the social and political systems have to change because the factors that keep slaves in bondage are to great for all slaves to overcome. In the narrative Douglass shows us how slave owners and their sympathizers described blacks in terms of negative stereotypes to justify treating them as property.
The Negro's providence of habits and moneymaking capacity is incomparable to that of the whites. Had they remained in Africa, they would become idolatrous, savage and cannibal, or be eaten by other savages and cannibals (Fitzhugh, 247). They should thank us for relieving them from the far more cruel slavery in Africa. Although they are inferio... ... middle of paper ... ...avage lifestyle and taught them Christianity and gave them things free laborers will never have or own. They are inferior to the Anglo-Saxon and if they are freed they will eventually die off since they are certainly weak-minded.
Education was considered precious during the 1860s. Concerning this, Frederick Douglass was taught by his master, Mrs. Auld. This practice was unfortunately stopped due to Thomas Auld's belief that, “Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world” (Douglass 20). What he means by saying that was that Afro-American slaves should be able to follow directions without question. If a slave gained knowledge, they would question the orders of the master, at their expense as well.
In the passage Frederick says, “It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but offered no ladder upon which to get out” (Douglass 61). Using this quote as your guide, the reader can examine the meaning and importance of education with slavery time, and modern day. Douglass views his education as his most important feature, but he also enables his brain to the realizing of the torture upon his fellow slaves. Douglass was not allowed to learn, because he was a slave, and they didn’t want slaves to become smarter than the whites. In the passage it states, “learning would ...
He gave details how slaveholders first remove a child from his immediate family, and how that destroys a child’s support network and sense of personal history. Douglass never knew a lot about himself, including how old he was. The white children were able to tell their a... ... middle of paper ... ...he evils of slavery. Freedom to Frederick Douglass means a place where you are not scared of being taken into bondage. He didn’t believe anywhere in the United States is free because there is always the chance that a black man can be taken back into slavery because of the Fugitive Slave Laws.
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.
Seeing the disgusting nature of white supremacists, Dubois knew that the only way for Blacks to actually obtain their rights was to demand them. Since Booker’s beliefs only appealed to hopeful lower-middle class African Americans, Dubois wanted a resolution that would take less time to come to. Without knowing how long they would need to wait for their rights to finally come, the African American community deserved the equality needed for them. If blacks are held down by the society and fail to get the education they need, they will definitely be stuck in their state forever. When talking on the problem of education for blacks, Dubois stated “Education is that whole system of human training within and without the schoolhouse walls, which molds and develops men”.
The slaveholders use ignorance as a tool to shape the slaves. For example, when Mr. Auld found out that his wife was teaching Douglass how to read and write, he said “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should now nothing but to obey his master – to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now, if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him.
But the trader responds unforgivingly by saying “Wal, you know, they may 'blige me, too.” This shows just how inhume the whole system was – a game rewarding the most selfish with absolutely no regard for the personhood of the slave. Slave auctioneers and sellers separated mothers and children on the principle that they were incapable of feeling the loss, at least not like white people. It is by recounting the cruel life of a slave that Stowe references what DuBois later introduces in The Souls of Black Folk as the existence of double consciousness. African-Americans are tasked with merging these two conflicting identities. Tom could never truly be "just" an American, for the social condition of the United States did not allow it.