Jonathan Kozol Essay

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Wright, who had hoped for answers regarding others’ treatment of him and what it means for his freedom, realizes that though he had all evidence of his unjust condition, there was still little he could do about it.

Similarly, Douglass reaches a point in his learning in which he realizes that freedom did not immediately come with knowledge.

The importance of obtaining knowledge is that it grants a sense of realization for freedom.

Those who are not knowledgeable are socially enslaved; limiting their human rights.

However, they also believe that knowledge is just as much as a curse as it is a blessing.

Kozol does not have much in common with the other authors, and has not gone through the same experiences that would lead him to believe that knowledge can also be seen as a curse.He reaches a point at which he decides that “learning to read and write has been a curse rather than a blessing” (146).Though Wright and Douglass would both agree that literacy had brought them both down by offering them hope without providing any reasonable course of action, Kozol would argue that illiterates “live, in more than literal ways, an uninsured existence” (161).An illiterate person will struggle in a coerced society.Therefore, the author informs the audience the blessing it is to have knowledge because they will be set free from being socially enslaved.Jonathan Kozol is a man that expresses the same belief as Douglass; that knowledge is rewarding.Although the times have changed; Kozol acknowledges the debilitating effect that comes when one is not knowledgeable.Author Jonathan Kozol writes his essay, “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society,” to project the importance of knowledge and to explain that without it, one can suffer disastrous repercussions.He highlights real-life examples of how people suffer as a result of chronic illiteracy, and his entire essay is an advocacy for knowledge and literacy.This inspires Douglass to understand that obtaining knowledge is equivalent to obtaining power.Knowledge has the ability to free Douglass from his social injustice.


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