English 12 1872H
September 26th 2009
Psychology represents the very nature of the way I think and leads me on a path of understanding the complexities of the people who share this planet with me. Through this discipline, as my mastery increases, I will be able to not only shape the lives of my children, but find insight into my own mind and hence grow as an individual. It is realized that through my education and accomplishments, I am a shining beacon for my children and peers to follow in a world where finding your place and right path to undertake can be as clouded and disoriented as a stormy night. The one star that has made a difference in my life and has motivated me into the path that I now choose, who has overcome destruction and still refused to give up is my uncle Angelo.
Though limited in my contact with him, since he lives in Florida, his accomplishments have transcended geography and have made their way as a beacon of hope and a blue print for what hard work and dedication can accomplish for you. Early in my uncle’s life, when he was in his twenties, like any of us he was positive he had life by the tail. But also like many of us, we are unaware of the damage we cause to ourselves due to the lack of understanding and experience. My uncle managed to really tarnish his name and partook in activities which were not acceptable by society’s standards, which in turn led to his life no longer being controlled by him. Let’s just say that freedom was no longer an option and his life was now in the hands of others.
I realized that no matter who you are, life is filled with decisions and each one can have a dramatic and life altering effect if you’re not careful. This poor choice in decision making, to my uncles realization, was a major setback and a discredit to everything he thought represented him as a person. He let vices and the bad influences of others, dictate the destructive and counterproductive path he was following, until it was too late to alter course. My uncle felt firsthand the life changing consequences of the decisions he alone has set in motion.
This current scene he was now living was a dramatic eye opener for what his life has been up to this point and to where his life was now headed. From that point on he decided that he would choose the right path and lead his life in a more influential and enlightened manner. My uncle joined the army to redeem a name that will be a representation of him for the rest of his life and in doing so started his future on a new path. His determination and refusal to give up in the face of irreversible odds, and the courage it took to fix what has already been broken, was and is the great motivation behind the path I have chosen.
After his military career, he decided that his life and his purpose was to help society and his fellow man, not make the same mistakes he made earlier in his life. The one way he realized would be the most practical would be to go to college. Through army funds and working odd jobs, my uncle found that all his dreams can become reality as long as you take responsibility for yourself and your actions. This is where my uncle found his passion and career path that would steer the direction of his future. Needless to say my uncle fared extremely well in his studies and accomplished both his associates and bachelor’s degrees with the determination of a well motivated person.
My uncle took a job as a social worker and had a new found respect for being able to know his mind and the empowerment of knowledge when used for the purpose of positive undertakings. After a few years of hard work and making a name for himself, he decided that a master’s degree would turn his life in the direction he was now aiming for. Indeed he also accomplished that task and used his mastery to promote himself to a higher and more decision oriented job title.
His accomplishments didn’t stop there, at the age of 55, my uncle went back to graduate school and after a long dissertation process on human services, my uncle was awarded his P.H.D.
After said title was bestowed upon him, he was immediately promoted to the director of all social services for his County. A title that I feel he worked hard for and deserved for all the obstacles both self inflicted and fate induced that he had to overcome.
My uncle Angelo’s fight with inner demons and the negative aspects of his past are an example to me of the importance of motivation and direction in one’s life. He also bestows upon me the will to overcome any barrier in my path and shows me what an enlightened and determined person can accomplish in his own lifetime. I follow his example in the way I will apply myself and push forward in the field of psychology to help in my understanding of human interactions and thought. My hope is that through understanding, hard work, and dedication, I will make at least half the impact my uncle has made on his environment and the people encompassed in it. My uncle is the shining beacon I will follow and through psychology take my place next to him in the undertakings of helping my fellow man finding his place in this world.
English 12 1872H
October 26th 2009
Freedom comes in many forms and can only be fully achieved through the constant pursuit of education, which awakens the mind and gives definition to life’s intricacies, then through action, from which knowledge of one’s situation causes an insatiable need for change. To fully reach your potential as a thriving human being, certain unalienable rights are mandatory and crucial to this effect. Douglass accounts for his journey from complete ignorance in the arts of reading and writing and the mind-set of a mindless slave unaware of his plight; to the initial invigorating excitement of expanding one’s knowledge and thoughts, to the eventual disequilibrium and emotional conflict caused by full awareness of the injustices and moral travesties occurring as normal all around him.
Through this spectrum of mental awakening, a passive obedient slave now becomes the pro-active voice of freedom from which his quest for justice through knowledge is passionately displayed in his writings and advocacy for change.
Fredrick Douglass stresses the importance of knowledge once it is awakened with understanding in a time when slavery was an intricately woven part of America. His battle with education, once initiated, and through absolute opposition, and his unrelenting spirit in refusing to be denied that education, demonstrates the character that defines his values as a man and not a slave who is considered to be something else. His first experience states “My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me, had, in compliance with the advice and direction of her husband, not only ceased to instruct, but had set her face against my being instructed by anyone else.” (Douglass 69) Slavery was an infectious and completely corrupting force, felt by slaves and slave owners alike.
What started out as a kind hearted and saintly woman, “When I went there, she was a pious, warm, and tender-hearted woman. There was no sorrow or suffering for which she had not a tear.” (Douglass 69) soon, through the overwhelming corruptions of slave ownership, she became fierce and aggressive against his learning to read. “Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamb-like disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness.” (Douglass 69) “She finally became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself. She was not satisfied with simply doing as well as he had commanded; she seemed anxious to do better.” (Douglass 69)
Douglass, regardless of the obstacles all around him, knew immediately the importance of an education and shows how he would go through any lengths to obtain it. “The plan which I adopted, and the one which I was most successful, was that of making friends with all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these I could, I converted into teachers.” (Douglass 70) Many methods were implemented into this endeavor and because of which demonstrated Douglass’ passion for obtaining knowledge, which through hard work, accomplishes him learning to read. “This bread I used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give me that more valuable bread of knowledge.” (Douglass 70)
With the miracle of knowledge also came the burden of a heavy heart from the awareness of being a slave and the realization that his life and the lives of his fellow slaves, was not their own to command. “The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers.” “I loathe them as being the meanest as well as the most wicked of men.”(Douglass 71) So much so, that he would have come to the brink of self destruction if it hadn’t been for the undeniable notion of freedom. “It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out.” “I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead; and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should of killed myself, or done something for which I should have been killed.” (Douglass 70-71)
It is this deep hatred and wide array of emotions demonstrated throughout his essay that describes to the reader pathos and illuminates Douglass’ inner most demons revealing the depths of his soul and the souls of this human race for which he belongs, then transforms into the passion and patience he will take and utilize with him through his journey to further his education, become a free man, and for the eventual abolishment of slavery. Another demonstration of an appeal through logic or otherwise known as logos, is when Fredrick Douglass states “I looked forward to a time at which it would be safe for me to escape.” “I was too young to think of doing so immediately; besides, I wished to learn how to write, as I might have occasion to write my own pass.” (72-73)
Fredrick Douglass is very descriptive in his writing and eloquently uses his passion for the pen to bring his life experiences to full view for the reader. Through appealing to emotions, character, and logics that we all possess as active members of a society, Douglass paints a picture of oppression that advocates thought and question for any potential reader. Through his many methods of prose, Douglass advocates for the importance of education and the intense dedication needed to achieve this feat. For the depth of vision acquired once your eyes are opened to the world around you, and for the unrelenting sense of self worth that drives us in the direction of mental and physical freedom for ourselves and every human being alike no matter the differences between them.
Douglass’ story is timeless in its relevance towards historical or contemporary life for inequality and discrimination is still implemented today from societies down to the individual family. We are all conditioned through family, peers, and our environments to what normal should be, and we all tend to set preferences towards these norms and anything or anyone not molded within these guidelines we tend to discriminate against. Education is still the fruit for which all young and old minds alike need for proper development and is still available for some and fleeting for others depending on income.
Slavery has tossed away its whips and chains and has replaced them with high rents, and small paychecks, and the only remedy for this life-long battle is in getting an education and raising the level in which you qualify for employment. Hence the two are correlated, as your education level increases, so does the level of income produced, which in turn can account for the level of living accomplished in one’s lifetime and for the quality of life experienced during this period. Therefore, education is power.
Douglass, Fredrick. “Learning to Read and Write.” Twenty Five Great Essays. 3rd ed. Ed.
Robert Diyanni. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. 68-74.