In the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” he shares throughout his story the value of an education. Douglass also talks about how education and slavery are incompatible with one another. This makes it very difficult for a slave to reach or become free due to the fact that according to Douglass “education was the key to freedom. ” Below the hardships and constant battle of Frederick Douglass will be analyzed, with regard to how as a slave education was so crucial for people who were not in positions with a need for learning.
When talking about the role that education played in Douglass’s story, one must see that it was one of if not the biggest parts of his narrative. Education was a way to freedom according to Douglass. He felt that slaves could only become free by learning how to read, write, and have an overall educational base to build up on. While Douglas felt that education was his way to freedom, it also leads to him fully understanding the horrors of slavery. When Douglass states, “It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but offered no ladder upon which to get out” (33).Order now
Here he shares how education lead to his true understanding of slavery as a whole, and shows the reader that while education was going to lead or help him make his way towards freedom, it was also made him even more miserable as he came to the full realization of how hopeless the situation truly was for himself and other slaves. Douglass did not believe that education and slavery fit together. He states that, “education and slavery were incompatible with each other. ” (31).
One view of this is that many people were very afraid of slaves becoming educated because they would take their jobs. Another possibility was slave owners became angry and worried over having an educated slave because he may try to outsmart them, or would lead to larger issues. Whatever reason people had for having slaves was nothing more than complete and utter ignorance. As stated above education really lead to Douglass full understanding of slavery, therefore lead to him being more miserable.
He talks about how he would question if learning was actually worth it, and this was caused by the constant demand for him to live within the system of slavery. Education and slavery couldn’t coexist because slavery as a whole did not make any use of education, due to all of the mental and actual freedom required to actually utilize education. Throughout the narrative Douglass talks about how other slaves may also suffer the same recognitions he did with education. He also elt that with the situation being how it was for slaves that they might just waste what they learn or may even lead them to feel unhappier with their current situation; similar to how it did with Douglass. Slave owners found it to be critical to make sure that they kept slaves ignorant of concepts of freedom and education because to them that would ruin them, and make them either less useful or unusable. Overall, Frederick Douglass shows the reader that while education is vital to grow, it also can also lead to very harsh consequences and hardships for slaves.