Essay on The Importance Of A Self Made Man

1015 Words Apr 7th, 2016 5 Pages
A key aspect of a self-made man is his desire to learn. Despite his conditions a self-made man will educate himself through his own efforts. Much like Frederick Douglass said in his address “It does not matter that the wind is fair and the tide at its flood, if the mariner refuses to weigh his anchor and spread his canvas to the breeze. The golden harvest is ripe in vain if the farmer refuses to reap. Opportunity is important but exertion is indispensable” (Douglass, “Self-Made Men”). Frederick Douglass was sent to Baltimore to Mr. Auld’s plantation where would be introduced to the fundamentals of reading. He first encountered the world of literacy when his Mistress, Mrs. Auld taught him the alphabet. The lessons stopped after Mr. Auld informed the Mistress of the implications of teaching a slave how to read. He quotes “If you give a [ni---] an inch, he will take an ell. A [ni---] should know nothing but to obey his master…”(Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 20). It was too late, Douglass already tasted the world of Freedom and he would stop at nothing to gain it. This was an epiphany for Douglass as he realized that keeping the slaves uneducated was how slaveholders kept them enslaved, therefore the key to his freedom was literacy.
From then on Douglass sought out to teach himself how to read and write, he quotes “Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn…

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