Essay # 3
Reading essay The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society by Jonathan Kozol rekindles the candle of the horrors of illiteracy within us, a candle that has been extinguished by our hectic lives. As he quotes James Madison’s statement, “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives”, these words make us think about ourselves and the society around us.
A country is run by Government. That ...view middle of the document...
When I asked them what kind of cookies are these, the women replied “I don’t know about the type, but we always buy it by looking at the picture and color of wrapper”. When I asked them to show me the package, it turned out to be cookies for Dog’s. They were so embarrassed to know that they have been serving pet food to their guests.
Kozol also writes about the second basic necessity of life; shelter mentioning rent and lease agreements to explain difficulties among illiterates. If one needs to find a place to live, an illiterate person cannot read the classifieds in newspaper. Even if an illiterate person is standing in front of an apartment with a ‘To Let’ sign, he still remains unaware about the availability of it. Children of illiterate parents often face humiliation among other children in school because their parents cannot help them with their homework.
Children often mislead their illiterate parents to fulfill their own interests. Another problem is the internet. An illiterate parent can’t tell if the child is surfing the internet to get information or using it for purposes that are not allowed by law for his age.
Traveling is a nightmare for an illiterate person. Kozol reminds me of an incident. A family friend of ours could not read. He wanted to visit his daughter and was given visual directions like take a left at gas station with blue sign and he was supposed to make a right hand turn at the street across from two oak trees. The owner of that property cut the trees and this poor guy traveled forty miles beyond that point just looking for an intersection that has two oak trees.