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"Human Costs of an Illiterate Society"

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Cameron Williams

on 17 September 2014

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Transcript of "Human Costs of an Illiterate Society"

What We Found
Exigence of the story is the dream the author has as he puts himself in the place of an illiterate person in paragraph 7.
The authors intended audience are those who are not illiterate as seen in paragraph 13. Here the author describes the doctors who don't help the illiterates in a society to understand the document they are signing.
The author appeals to logos by using conversations he had with people who are illiterates as seen in paragraphs 15 and 41. Also by giving situations in which he dealt with an illiterate in paragraph 42.
What We Found
Author used the strategies, classifying and illustration. Classifies illiterates throughout the story by using "they" and pointing out how they can't read. Illustrates what illiterates can not read and stories he has with illiterate people, such as in paragraphs 21 and 22 .
Author explains what exactly illiterates go through in paragraph 29 as "not knowing" and how not having the understanding leads to problems.
The authors diction is precise with words like "distinguish" and "immobilized". But also can be seen as connotative with words such as "uninsured existence" and "stigmatized".
What We Found
Author appeals to pathos by giving details of what an illiterate cannot do. Also by showing examples of how we as a society treat them as in paragraph 42.
Authors purpose is to inform the reader on what illiterates go through but also wants to explain how people who are not illiterate are to blame for the reason why one can't read.
Author tended to start every paragraph that was used to list what an illiterate can not do by using the phrase "they cannot" and then listing what it was they can't do.
Purpose Quote
Paragraph 8
"This panic is not so different from the misery that millions of adult illiterates experience each day within the course of their routine existence in the U.S.A."
Rhetorical Thesis
In the article "Human Cost of an Illiterate Society", Kozol tries to reach out to people who are able to read by describing the life of illiterates. He uses pathos by giving descriptive examples of how illiterates live life. He also uses logos by using his own experience, stories, and conversations with illiterates.
Connection to On Dumpster Diving
The set up that the essay has is similar to On Dumpster Diving by having an author's experience that leads to the story. Then both essays give descriptive details about the people who are the topics of the essays by listing what they do or can't do in everyday life. But both essays are on uneducated people and how they are treated. In Kozol's essay, he talks about how police officers thought a man's struggle to read was a "joke" in paragraph 41 just like in On Dumpster Diving how many people judged the man for digging in the garbage. Both authors try to change the views of the people who are against dumpster diving or who alienate illiterate people.

After learning more about illiterates in a society, describe how students at VVHS treat kids who may not be able to read. Write what a conversation with an illiterate student may sound like. What are some steps we can take to stop the spread of illiteracy?

"Human Costs of an Illiterate Society" by Jonathan Kozol
Cameron Williams
Nick Nava
Jessica Molina
Nedaya Marin


On a piece of paper answer the following

1. Define Illiterate

2. How do illiterates act in your opinion and how do you view their place in society?
The author describes what role illiterates play in a society as "not having significant participation" in government affairs. Then goes on to describe what illiterates can't read with such things as medicine instructions, written details, documents they may need to sign, important federal paperwork, traffic signs, or food labels. The author also describes what illiterates can't do such as travel, buy products, ask for help, look up things, trust people, manage their own lives, and most importantly read. But the author gives scenarios of when society interacts with illiterates and how they turn out. Most turned out negative and because society is not willing to change the fact that 60 million people are illiterates they are to blame for the misunderstanding of many.
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