Topics: Knowledge, John Brown, Learning Pages: 2 (679 words) Published: October 30, 2013
Vincent DeCandia
Professor Helff
24 October 2013
Freedom through Knowledge
In both essays, “Learning to Read,” by Malcolm X, and “Learning to Read and Write, by Frederick Douglass, both authors explain the methods they used and the obstacles that needed to be faced to satisfy their hunger of learning. Malcolm X was imprisoned for breaking an entry which ended up leading him to learn how to read. Douglass was a slave who wanted to learn how to read and write and used other people to get what he needed in order to do so. I will now explain which one of these two historical figures had a more difficult time in learning to read. In my opinion, I believe Frederick Douglass had a harder situation.

Frederick Douglass was a slave who learns how to read and write who was secretly taught by his mistress. Eventually learning how to write was done by feeding the little white boys better known as ‘urchins,’ so he could learn the alphabet. Douglass started out with a newspaper that his mistress had given him to read. The newspaper intrigued his hunger to learn and from then, Douglass has been on a mission to learn. Although Douglass knew the risks that could have been dangerous to take as a slave; he decides to go for them anyway. Douglass, knowing that he would be a slave for the rest of his life realizes that knowledge is power and when he escapes that there is a whole world he could go to.

Malcolm X was a prisoner who learns how to read from a dictionary during his time in prison. Countless hours devoted to reading broadened Malcolm X’s vocabulary and eventually had him learn every single word in the dictionary. Malcolm X said, “and my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned.” (258) Reading was Malcolm X’s serenity. Malcolm X had it very easy in the case of teaching himself, due to the fact that he had his resources at the prison library. Malcolm X said, “As you can imagine, especially in a prison where there...

Cited: Douglass, Frederick “Learning to Read and Write” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. 3rd edition.  Samuel Cohen. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011 257-266. Print.

X, Malcolm “Learning to Read” 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. 3rd edition. 
Samuel Cohen. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011 257-266. Print.
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