Jones, Donald C. Literacy, Orality, and Silence: "Reading" the Exigencies of Oppression in
Fredrick Douglass' 1845 “Narrative" . Washington, DC, 1995. Print.
The paper, Literacy, Orality, and Silence: "Reading" the Exigencies of Oppression in Fredrick Douglass' 1845 “Narrative”, was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. This article shows an analytic review on how Douglass used literacy in different ways to gain freedom and became liberated. He rebelliously used orality, silence and literacy to resist/abolish slavery. He took a step forward with silence when he refused to obey his master and weakened his power. He used orality and literacy by publicly addressing people to raise their voices against enslavement and also by writing letter to aware them, language was a key in this case. He was willing to do anything that he traded pieces of breads with poor kids to learn reading. That's how his will power lead him to the freedom eventually.
This article relates to essay #2 topic. As essay 2 shows that liberation can be achieved by willing to learn and by reading about surrounded world, the similar concept can be seen in this article where Fredrick Douglass is willing to learn and uses literacy to gain freedom. As he said “he raved, and swore his determination to get hold of me. I didn’t allow myself a single word.”(Douglass #13) it shows that he took a step forward to deny his master’s command when he asked him to obey him. even though he had to gone through severe oppression but he didn’t stop and determined himself to raise voice against slavery more and more. The same thing was done by Richard Rodriguez, when he participated in class and gained self-confidence. It was his step towards “freedom”, to find his identity. Moreover, Douglass helped white children by giving them bread to learn reading, which shows that he was willing to learn to know more about slavery, emancipated himself to abolish the concept of slavery. The same thing Marjane did, when she devoted her time on reading about politics to find the truth behind the Islamic Revolution and to liberate herself. However, Douglass used his orality/language, as a public speaker, to insist people against slavery. As he said “ I have no language to express [our] high excitement and deep anxiety . . . We had no more voice in that decision [regarding their punishment] than the brutes among whom we were ranked. A single word from the white men was enough”, it shows that he used his power of words/language to encourage people to gain freedom. That’s how, as Douglass’ literacy became more critical, this knowledge enabled Douglass to to re-position himself, to become an independent person from a slave, encouraged people to raise voice for themselves, and to find his own reality that how slavery kept him away from his own identity. But as he became liberated, he get confronted with his own reality and find a way to freedom.