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Categories: Books

New Look at Old Classic – Frederick Douglass- My Bondage and My Freedom

It is sensational to improve your vocabulary by taking a new look at an old classic book.

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.
photo credit: Marion Doss via photopin cc
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 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.

 Collected Articles of Frederick Douglass (Click photo to purchase)

 Frederick Douglass Autobiographies (Click photo to purchase)

The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (click photo to purchase)

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 a forty plus year old woman I read it again and was impressed with the vocabulary. For those of you who do not know, Frederick Douglass was an 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 week 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

View Comments

  • These last few weeks I have really wanted to commit to reading the classics... A few months back I started reading Alice and Wonderland perhaps I will start it up again,finish it and start another classic! I must admit I hated the idea of the e-readers to begin with. Danny bought me one for Christmas, the year before last and I didn't use it at first. A month later I finally tried it out and I fell in love. I still read real books but I love the features that are available when reading a book on an e-reader.

    • I like the e-reader because I like to be able to hold thousands of books in my hand. But there is still nothing like the smell of new book.

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