Literacy and Liberty

Guiding question and introduction blog
Posted by: , November 18, 2018, 4:40 pm
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Guiding Question: “What is the correlation between conflict, domestic and/or global, and illiteracy of a population?


All of human history has been shaped by conflict. The way we think and act as a society depends a lot on what we read and which authors and thinkers we choose to follow. However, what if the population of a country can’t read, write, or understand what is on a page? One could argue that there is a discernable difference between the treatment of an educated population and that of an uneducated population. Governments that oversee an uneducated populous have a large amount of power over those they govern because those that are oppressed by said governments only have a limited worldview due to the fact that they are illiterate and thus incapable of learning from certain authors and enlightened thinkers. Once the oppressed population notices the various injustices that their government has committed against the people, conflict is sure to rise. While there is absolutely no question that conflict, major and minor, exists in states that have an educated population, those nations tend to be on the democratic, rather than the dictatorial, side of the governmental spectrum which deters violent action. To put it simply, there is a strong connection between illiteracy and conflict on a domestic and global scale.

Posted by: , November 15, 2018, 4:38 pm
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2:00 pm

I sit on my bed

legs crisscrossed with my hands on my knees

Deep breath in, breathe out

In through the nose, out through the mouth

The candles that surround me offer a soothing atmosphere,

flames flapping in the air.

Deep breath in, breathe out

Focused on the music,

my body begins to relax,

and my mind follows.

Deep breath in, breathe out

I am deep in my mind

and my conscience is clear.

A feeling of peace washes over me.

Eyes open,

2:30 pm





Literacy Around the World
Posted by: , November 7, 2018, 2:46 pm
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I am a person who is very interested in global politics, both the current and the past. Politics revolve around reading, and what is read can sometimes determine the outcome of certain events, whether it be in the past of in the present. I have begun to wonder if I have taken my privilege of reading, writing, and understand what I have read for granted. After all, there are a lot of countries in the world where literacy is still an issue today. In my first paper, I discussed how reading is fundamental to the rights of citizens of a nation. Ever since I have registered to vote and read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, I have given a deep amount of thought as to what literacy means to individuals on a global scale. How do nations rule over their people if their population is illiterate? Is there a correlation between conflict and illiteracy? These are some of the questions that I asked myself that I believe are congruent with the problems of today and of the past. In my last paper I stated that “literacy is paramount to our freedom” and I want to research if that is in fact true. Not only is the current affect of literacy on nations important, but the historical affect of literacy is also important as it connects our conflicts and issues with those of the past.


Memorial Hall
Posted by: , October 3, 2018, 2:28 pm
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I was always aware and intrigued by Dickinson’s rich and vibrant history, but after visiting Memorial Hall in Old West I have a new understanding of how Dickinson College helped shape the past that we constantly study. It is a quaint little memorial, but it offers more than meets the eye. As soon as you walk in, there is a huge plaque dedicated to the students of Dickinson College who fought during the Civil War. This is an amazing part of Dickinson history because so many people who went to the same college as I do fought in the most famous American war ever. Some students even lost their lives. What is most compelling about the memorial is the recognition of both the Union and Confederate soldiers. It’s astonishing that students from the same school fought on both sides of the war.

Moving on, located on the other side of the room was a WWII memorial. Once again, I looked the staggering number of young men who served this country during that terrible time in history. A lot of them didn’t make it home. I tried to think about what their lives would have been like at Dickinson during that time period. I tried to think about what the college would have been like. Above all, I thought about how lucky I am that I was born during a time period where our nation is not at war and how safe I am generally. These men helped shape the world we know today by fighting evil, as did the women who contributed to the end of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan by building the necessary tools used to defeat them. They are forever enshrined on this plaque.

There was another plaque dedicated to those who, more recently than the Civil War or WWII, served in Operation Desert Storm. Men and women alike from Dickinson stepped up to serve their country. Being a more recent time where America fought to preserve freedom, I thought about how this related to the other plaques. I thought about the evolution of the campus and its people, and how Dickinson never stopped being part of American history throughout the years.

Visiting this memorial reminded me of how I take my freedom for granted, and how I should be using that freedom as far as it can take me. I am proud to go to the same college as these brave men and women did.

Learning to Write in Cursive
Posted by: , September 20, 2018, 9:44 pm
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I have very little memory of learning to read and write, but I recall very well teaching myself cursive.

When I was little, my father would always tell me that his mother, my grandmother, had the most beautiful cursive handwriting in the world. He described it in the sense that “she would not have been out of place if she were a signer of the U.S Constitution.” Having this information, I aspired to be like my grandmother. Cursive is sort of like another language. The symbols are generally the same, but your hands have to rememorize how to correctly write them. An “A” in print is not an “A” in cursive, for example. I recall sitting down for an hour or so a day and, in my copy book, I would write and rewrite certain words in cursive over and over and over again. Some words I would struggle with and others I would memorize pretty quickly. It was a cool experience for me because I had never worked hard on something at that age, so I felt a sense of accomplishment. Later on, I was more confident in my ability. I began trying to write whole papers in cursive. This proved to be a challenge as some papers were clean, while others were riddled with mistakes. Nevertheless, I continued to try to perfect my cursive. I always kept in mind my grandmother’s handwriting.

At some point, I stopped using it. I’m not sure when I stopped specifically. I still know how to write in cursive, but it is not what It used to be. My older brother writes in cursive all the time, and has beautiful penmanship. I’m jealous of him in a way. Everyday I write, I see the remnants of my childhood work as my writing today is a half-print half-cursive mixture. My generation is the last one that learned to write in cursive, which saddens me. With the advancement of technology, cursive, in my opinion, has become an obsolete subject in American schools. That being said, I will forever cherish the work I did as a child in the field of cursive writing.

Registering for Freedom
Posted by: , September 4, 2018, 5:53 pm
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Having recently turned 18, I now have the right to vote in American elections. For someone who is very invested in the nuances of American politics and government, this was the most thrilling piece of paperwork I’ve ever had the pleasure of filling out. To me, it was more than just a piece of paper. To me, it was investing in the American Government and being part of a 240-year old right to have a say in who gets elected. I couldn’t have cared less about my name, my street, my zip code, etc. The feeling hit once the selection of political parties came around. Thinking, “Here goes nothing,” I bubbled in the party of my choosing. The reason I felt this way was because I had what most people in other countries in the world don’t have: the right to elect their Presidents and Congressmen. I felt like I was contributing to American society. As a young conservative, I believe very much in what our founding fathers stood for. The ability to elect our officials is paramount to our freedom and is an important aspect of American life that we sometimes take for granted. Years ago, I read a quote from President Thomas Jefferson that stated, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” I have heard that most of my life but never truly understood what it meant, not until I registered to vote. I filled out the rest of the information on the back and double-checked for mistakes. Seeing none, I walked back up to the desk where I received the form and handed it to the people who were sitting there. Then I walked out of the library, feeling good about what I had done. I am now part of the system.