Understanding the Power of Language from Literary Works

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

I believe that there is one essential tool that everyone needs to to get by and really conceptualize the tools around them, and that one tool is Literacy. There are many ways you can achieve literacy like reading, writing, speaking. From the time we are babies, we are taught to be literate whether it’s our ABCs, counting our 123’s, even reading simple picture books. And if we gain enough of it, we can probably be a powerful leader in our community, country, even in the entire world. Literacy is an important tool because it has a variety of benefits that can uplift and empower a community and help us understand the world around us.

Literacy can ultimately make us understand the world around us. In Hellen Keller’s “ The Day Language Came into My Life”, she describes how she’s blind and deaf so she couldn’t really couldn’t expand her true potential. However, her teacher shows up one day and shows her how to use her sense of touch to expand her literacy. She describes this new experience “Miss Sullivan slowly spelled the word “d-o-l-l”. I was once interested in this finger play and tried to imitate it (73). That time Ms. Sullivan introduced the sense of touch to Keller so she can know what words are spelled out and know what they mean. At the end of the day Keller summarizes, “As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life”(74). Due to her ability to read words through her sense of touch, she was successfully able to understand the world around her a little more.

There are also many benefits that literacy can bring to a community. In Sherman Alexie’s “Superman and Me”, he describes how hungry he is to read and break all stereotypes that Indians aren’t really booksmart. Cause of this he starts to pick up book after book to gain knowledge, he describes this experience, “ I read books late into the night, until I could barely keep my eyes open” (79). Towards the end of the story Alexie then explains “ The Indian kids crowd the classroom. Many are writing their own poems, short stories, and novels. They are trying to save their lives” (80). Because of these things, now those other Indian kids will read more books. write more stories, even write a book and expand their own literacy.

Literacy can also empower you as an individual. In Malcolm X’s “Coming to an Awareness of Language” he describes early in the story how he tries to write letters to public figures like the Major of Boston, Governor of Massachussetts, and Harry Truman but he was unable to get his ideas across on his letters. He states this feeling as, “I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote.. But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn’t articulate, I wasn’t even functional”(68). This overall challenge was tough for Malcolm because he was smart but didn’t know how to put it out there in written communication. Until one day he gets locked up in Jail and started noticing the dictionaries and starts reading them, he describes this as “I copied the dictionary’s next page. And the same experience came when I studied that. With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history” (69). And when he gets out he states, “… and my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life” (69). And because of him going to prison and learning literacy in there, he started to become the influential figure that he was.

So overall, Literacy skills are something we all must have. Literacy aids us in bettering our understanding of the world, can brighten our intelligence, bring a community together, and even can empower us to be a public figure and lead. I, myself, is a strong believer that having the ability to be literate is important because it’ll help you as an individual in the long run and help people as a collective as well. Without having any Literacy skills, we will not be able to read and write and even speak properly so we will not make any impact on our lives or even in the community. Just imagine if Malcolm X didn’t have the urge to read those dictionaries, or Hellen Keller never had that teacher appointed to her, or even Sherman Alexie committing himself to reading those books, then history will be impacted greatly. So if you think being Literate isn’t important, then please have second thoughts.

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