Formal and Informal Education: A Comparison

His passion to read is also elicited by the fact that he is a slave. Slaves are not entitled to education in the south. When he happens to read the book ‘Columbian orator’, he even gets more motivated to read more. He now realizes just how much his life has been wrecked. He comes to understand many things through this book about slavery and abolishment of the same. However his education does not have a curriculum. He read anything written just to know how to read and write. It only gives him limited skills. There is no school for him to go and learn and there is no one to guide him on the scope of his reading. His teacher includes the mistress, who later became a strong critic of his education. However, he befriends the small white boys from his neighborhood, and makes them his teachers. Since they came from poor backgrounds, he would often trick them with bread which he obtained easily. ‘This bread I used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give me that more valuable bread of knowledge.’ (p.144).

Douglass learns how to write while working at durgin and bailey’s ship yard. He observes how the pieces of timber were labeled during shipping and became very interested. He challenges his small white boys’ teacher in reading so that he can learn more writings and also uses his little masters copy books. Though it takes him seven years to accomplish this, he finally learns how to read and write. He then escapes from Maryland and moves to the north where he becomes an activist for the abolishment of slavery in the south, and changes the course of America as a country.

Eudora Welty learns in a formal school. She is motivated by her parents, teachers and books. She says that her family valued education very much. “In fact books were so valued in Welty’s family that when the house caught fire, Welty’s mother made sure that the books were safely out of the house before she left herself.” (p.149). Welty goes to school at an early age because she is fascinated by suspense. By the age of 5, she knows the alphabets and the how to read. She is self motivated to learn. “From the first I was clamorous to learn- I wanted to know and begged to be told not so much, or how, or why, or where, as when. How soon?” (p.149). Her early enrollment in school also made her even more motivated. With activities ranging from class work, to meeting new friends and all character of teachers around, she really liked school. However she feared the principal, Miss Duling who was a no non sense administrator of the grammar school “Her standards were very high and of course inflexible, her authority was total.” (p.150).

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