Illiteracy in America can have negative and devastating effects on society as a whole. The effects that illiteracy has range from embarrassment to low self-esteem as well as high crime rates. Illiteracy seems to have an even more devastating effect in the lower income communities. Based on that, Johnathan Kozol wrote “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society,” that was an article in Illiterate America (1985) to show how illiteracy lowers people’s quality of life, reduce the education, and prevents them take part in democratic society fully.
While, the topic is interesting to read understanding the fallacies committed by the author are also noteworthy. By using sentimental examples such as the child choking or of the dangerous impacts of smoking the author tries to appeal to the emotions of the readers. The author digresses from the main topic as he fails to, with justice, prove his claims. The author’s take on the way people are affected by education in America is more of a personal opinion about it rather than explaining the arguments he assumes the reader to know the statistics and facts. The assumption, the personal accounts and the excessive use of pathos, taking away from the credibility of the article and leaves the reader in a state in which he is unsure of what to take away from the article. The examples, appeal to the emotions of the reader, and do not make a strong argument. By using a proper research methodology and less use of emotional examples the author might have explained the issue in a better way. This piece is an eye-opened but not a reflection of ‘the human cost of an illiterate society’.
The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society by Jonathan Kozol PRECAUTIONS
Jonathan Kozol opens his essay, "The Human cost of an Illiterate Society" with an all too familiar phrase, "Precautions, read before using: Poison."