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What does Frederick Douglass mean when he says " Bread of Knowledge"

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ewok2 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:35 AM via web

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What does Frederick Douglass mean when he says " Bread of Knowledge"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM (Answer #1)

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The phrase you are asking about can be found in Chapter 7 of this book.  Douglass uses it to refer to the ability to read.  He talks about how he used to go out among the poor white kids and give them bread that he had (he had more to eat than they did).  In return, he would get from them the bread of knowledge as they would help him learn to read.

What Douglass means by this phrase is that knowledge was very important to him.  We often use the word bread to simply mean nourishment in general -- something that gives us life.  Douglass refers to knowledge in this way because getting it was so important to his life.

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