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Categories: Books

Frederick Douglass’ “My Bondage and My Freedom” – A New Look at a Classic Book

photo credit: Marion Doss via photopin cc

It is sensational to improve your vocabulary by taking a new look at a classic like Frederic Douglass’ “My Bondage and My Freedom.”

 

I enjoy reading and do so whenever I have a free moment, which is why my e-reader is such a good friend. It is my current practice to read one new book and one piece of classic literature. As a result, I am reading an old classic almost every other week.
There are thousands upon thousands of classic books that school students all over America are assigned to read each year. For the most part, a book becomes a classic because it teaches a valuable lesson, is beautifully written or is written by an established author. In reading classic literature, I have learned many things and I know some of them were not what the author intended.  For example, when I read Aesop’s Fables I learned that my son is quite the philosopher. When I read The Communist Manifesto I learned the best pick-up line of all time. When I read Moby Dick I learned more about whaling than I thought was humanly possible. When I read Frederick Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom I learned that lack of education does not prevent one from having an incredible vocabulary.
I first read My Bondage and My Freedom when I was a fourth-grade student who loved to read and read everything I  could lay my hands on. Years later as an adult I read it again and was impressed with the vocabulary. For those of you who do not know, Frederick Douglass was an African-American slave who obtained his freedom and became a major abolitionist who took on the cause of freeing all African-Americans from the horrors of slavery.
What made Douglass’ vocabulary especially impressive to me was the fact that he was self-educated. He expected a great deal from himself in terms of both his written and oral communication. I have always loved words, synonyms, antonyms, homophones and the like. I have always been weak in the knees for a man with a big vocabulary.
In my mind, there is something truly incredible about the ability to have numerous words on hand to describe any situation, perfectly and accurately. I enjoyed My Bondage and My Freedom because the vocabulary was beautiful, varied, and multi-syllabic. While reading it I used the dictionary feature on my e-reader many times and was excited to be able to do so.
It is sensational to read a piece of classic literature and improve your vocabulary at the same time. So, the question for you this sensational day is, what piece of classic literature has helped improve your vocabulary?
Janeane Davis

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