Education 5

“If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison and destroy.” Ralph Ellison’ quote has made a connection to the three author’s situations. Learning can give us valuable knowledge and benefit. But it also can take away our freedom. The quote above relates to the three readings; as getting education, a person can receive two different impacts: liberation and imprisonment.
“Discovering books” by Richard Wright explains how reading books has changed his outlook on life and eventually his own life. Living during the period of segregation, Wright has to sit down under the hatred from Southerners who label black people as property. Reading helps him to feel not only the power of having knowledge but also the pain about his own history. From that, his goal is freeing himself. In “Learning to read and write”, Federick Douglass recalls what he has to go through in order to learn and write. He starts out with his tender-hearted mistress who first shows him the alphabet, which is not a common thing for slaves to know how to read and write, but later treats him poorly. Being a slave has imprisoned him and prevented him from learning. Therefore, Douglass starts to learn reading in an unconventional way; he tries to get closer to poor white kids, making them his teachers. With Malcolm X, “A homemade education” is his autobiography discussing about his struggles between the verbal language that he uses on the street and the language of literature. Although he is articulate verbally, he becomes extremely frustrated at not being able to express what he wants when it comes to writing. Being in the prison, Malcolm X’s theme seems to determine his interest on reading literature that leads him to a freedom that he never has before.
Richard Wright is an errand boy who drops out of school at fifteen. Not being able to get education, his limitation on knowledge has imprisoned him and prevented him from being conscious about.