Douglass Learning To Read And Write Essay

The literary nonfiction forms that I found to be most prevalent throughout the excerpt were a sense of place, and personal experience.

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I really enjoyed the style of this essay; it was simple and easy to understand, but also showed that Douglass was an educated man.

Quote: “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity,” (262). I always imagined that every slave would want to know how to read and write, and did not think that this could be a negative thing.

During this time, I succeeded in learning to read and write,” (260).

These are fairly short sentences, each one getting straight to his point.

This description aligns with his direct and simple style, but offers enough information to allow the reader to picture what type of woman this mistress was.

Douglass uses elevated diction throughout his essay, which surprised me, considering he was a former slave.For him to envy the other slaves for their lack of knowledge is extremely powerful; people should strive for knowledge, not for stupidity.He clearly expresses the pain and burden that literacy has brought upon him.Knowledge is power, and in this case, caused immense pain for Douglass. His powerful words reveal his pain and cause the reader to feel sorry for him.This quote supports the intention of the piece; it reveals the troubles and burdens that reading and writing placed upon Douglass.Douglass does not include over-the-top imagery and descriptions, but he includes just enough to allow the reader to picture what he was experiencing.He describes his mistress as “pious, warm, and tender hearted,” (260).This quote made me think differently about slaves and the emotions that they must have been feeling.Douglass uses powerful words in this quote, such as ‘agony’ and ‘envied’.The portrayal of a sense of place ingrained throughout his writing sheds a light on the locations and stages in his life he experienced these events.He was able to successful correlate these two forms together to create an unforgettable and inspirational story.


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