October 31, 2011
The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society
In Jonathon Kozol’s eye opening essay, he discusses in depth the negative effects that illiteracy has on everyone in the American society. Unfortunately illiteracy is a common problem today and is usually more prone in lower income families and is passed down through the generations. When your parents can not read or write, you grow up without the importance of being taught these skills and then the cycle of illiteracy continues. Knowledge is something one cannot take away from one another. The more they are subdued, the better for the country. “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives” (2). This is saying that having illiterate citizens benefits the U.S., because having illiterate citizens is much easier to deceive than having literate citizens, which would have to be convinced to do anything. Questions arise from all literate citizens when they disagree with something, or with the laws of the government and this becomes a nuisance, but on the other hand an illiterate citizen is simply a follower. They depend on others, and cannot stand up for themselves. [They] don’t choose, [they] take their wishes from [others]. (26)
Imagine living a life so closed and sheltered that the daily experiences, which most people enjoy, are a horrifying burden. Imagine the shame and discomfort one feels being one of Americas countless underprivileged restricted to poverty, because of a handicap that so many take for granted. It’s sad to think about the feeling of embarrassment one must have with not being able to read or write. I just can’t even imagine a life full of painfully awkward moments that never cease, and a life of restriction that so greatly diminishes a person’s sense of worth that they are constantly surrounded by hopelessness and grief. As scary as this sounds, and as dangerous as illiteracy might be, I believe that the U.S....
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