Essay On Richard Wright And Frederick Douglas

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

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Have u ever been wanted something so bad that u would never let a thing get in your way?? Well I have a story that will make your day.

In the mist of adversity, two Black men overcame the odds and learned to read and write during a time when they could have been killed for it. The first man is the legendary Fredrick Douglas, who was born a slave and defied the odds of his time. The other Richard Wright, though in a time no as oppressed as Fredrick, he was a man who would not settle for less. These two men have amazing stories of how they overcame the odds and learned to read and write in a time when it was considered illegal for a Black man to have these skills. I was lucky enough to read their stories and will share my thoughts and experiences with you.

Fredrick Douglas was born a slave and lived that way all his life. At a young age he was interested in reading and writing, but because of the times he was not permitted to, just as they did not to Richard Wright. But growing up Fredrick worked and lived on a plantation where the lady of the house was kind enough to teach him how to read. So she would regularly give him lessons on how to read. Fredrick had befriended some of the poorer kids in the town who knew how to read and write and would receive books from them and would have them teach him how to write in exchange for bread. Fredrick Ivied these kids for their freedom (I wished I could be as free as they would be when they got to be men)-53. On the long trips to the city he would find time to read his books. And when the master and is family would leave, he would get the master's son's reading logs and copy them for practice. He never let his desire to read and write die out, and he never let a thing get in the way of his desires. Now, on the other hand we have a man in a different position. Wright lived and a time that was oppressed, but not as oppressed as Fredrick's time. He also had the desire to read and write, although it wasn't as strong as Fredrick's, it was there. His passion grew stronger one day when he saw a paper with a white man on the front, from the words he could already make out, whatever the article was about, it was pretty bad. He had never seen a white man criticized so badly by his own people; he had to know what it was about this man that made him such a hated man by his people. So he decided to find a way to check out books by this man so he could find out more about him. He had any white workers at his job which had access to the library, but he needed the right one who would not turn on him. He found a white Irish man who was and outcast from the other workers and seemed to have a good heart. He decided he could trust him in asking him for the favor of using his library card, and not telling on him for trying to read. The Irish man allowed him to do so only telling him to let the Irish man know what he has learned. Two men, a common goal, but they both suffered from many problems and had hard times getting there. Another thing is that, though reading to these two men was a blessing and great accomplishment it was also a curse. Douglas said( the more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers)-54 (I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse than a blessing)-54. See as soon as Douglas started to read, he learned more and more information, the only problem was that the information was material that he could not handle. He would read about the history of slavery and how it came to be. His readings made him hate the white people around him. Wright, felt as though he had been left out. Like there was a world out there that was not allowed to be in. (In Buoying me up, reading also cast me down, made me see what was possible, what I missed. My tension returned, nee, terrible, biter, surging, almost too great to be contained. I no longer felt that the world about me was hostile, killing; I knew it. A million times I asked myself what I could do to save myself, and there were no answers. I seemed forever condemned, ringed by walls)-75 But they both overcame the odds and also became friends with members of the white race which was very uncommon. They both strived to know more. Even though the knowledge proved to be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

In my experiences I have found many people to be the same, not only in the white race but every race. I have suffered bad encounters with people of every race, and have hade people of every race help me in a time of need, but I have learned that when you want something u can never let a thing stop you. Reading no matter what I have found will always offend someone. And the truth of the matter is the history of our country isn't pretty. In many cases, as u have read today, the truth can hurt. How can something of such beauty and importance as reading, be such a bad thing. How could the only thing that mad him happy, hurt him so bad. I have read many articles that have proved very disturbing to me, to the point of where I wished I never read it. Reading will always bring controversy, the fact that we have freedom of speech and press; there will always be things you wish u would never want to hear about again.

Desire, drove to men to reach what they were restricted to have, their desire drove them to do better and succeed and reach their goals. They never gave up they found every angle to get what they needed, and even though it seemed to hurt them, it was for there own good.