The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 May 2016

The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society

Précis: In “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society”, Jonathan Kozol, a Harvard graduate, argues that illiteracy cause the loss of choice or freedom and leads to many problems. Kozol highlights his argument with examples of when illiteracy can be binding such as “Many illiterates cannot read the admonition on a pack of cigarettes. Neither the Surgeon General’s warning nor its reproduction on the package can alert them to the risks.”(20). He gives extensive and detailed scenarios in order to raise awareness on the harm of illiteracy. Kozol addresses his readers so that they may spread awareness on illiteracy and eventually resolve the problem.

Questions: 1. These explanations confuse the effects of illiteracy with the causes by saying that laziness is the cause of illiteracy, when in reality illiteracy is the cause of innovativeness, that an illiterate has to adopt, that is seen as laziness and stupidity. Kozol refutes these stereotypes with his examples of just how much illiteracy affects a person showing that they become almost immobilized and isolated by it. In his opinion the nation and it’s leaders are at fault for not addressing this problem.

4. The complexity of the problem seems to determine the order of the examples where they begin with simple problems and then escalate. The most memorable example for me is the one about the woman who mistakenly underwent a hysterectomy, it appears in the middle in paragraph fourteen.

SOAPSTone: Subject: Kozol discusses the causes and effects of illiteracy in our society.

Occasion- 1985 is a time when illiteracy had a big impact on our American society and we weren’t coming up with any solutions creating larger amount of illiterates.

Audience- This writing is directed to all of his readers and people who can make a change and come up with a solution to this problem.

Purpose- Kozol wrote this book in order to raise awareness on illiteracy and its huge negative impacts and encourage people to do something about it.

Speaker- Jonathan Kozol, as a Harvard graduate, a Rhodes scholar, and an owner of the National Book Award on his first critique on American Education, was a renown writer that used his fame to bring attention to the problem of illiteracy.

Tone- Kozol assumed an informative but sympathetic tone in which he is siding with illiterates on the fact that life is difficult and harmful because of illiteracy. He places blame on the leaders of America for not seeing this huge problem in front of them.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 18 May 2016

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