Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Importance of Education: Views of Richard Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass, Chris McCandless

Words: 1194
Pages: 3
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

A good education is something that all children, teens, and young adults across America deserve, but what’s the point of it? Over time, people learn the basic skills needed to function in society such as reading, writing, and basic arithmetic, but beyond that, what’s the purpose? Although people are going to college more than ever, so many more are asking why they’re even there. They may ask themselves, “why am I wasting four years of my life for a piece of paper with a script font that says I graduated?” I’ll admit, from time to time I ponder that same question, but I am quick to answer it. I am going to school to not only obtain knowledge and skills, but to be inspired, learn how to think critically, and to gain a better understanding of the world around me. In essence, these are the aims of education.

Richard Rodriguez, a first-generation Mexican American, highlights in his essay “The Achievement of Desire” how education made him aware of the cultural differences between him and his parents. As Rodriguez became more educated, he realized that his parents remained uneducated, a disparity that he came to despise. As a result, Rodriguez was compelled to correct his parent’s grammatical errors and was abashed that they never dedicated time to read him a book. When he came home from school, Rodriguez “saw in his parents a way of life not only different but starkly opposed to that of the classroom” (535), and consequently, he felt that he “[couldn’t] afford to admire his parents” (536) and was “[embarrassed] by their lack of education” (536). Rodriguez realized that the academic culture he identified with contrasted with the “working-class” culture that his parents embodied. The education he was obtaining sparked that realization.

Similarly, earning an education made Frederick Douglass more aware of his dire situation. Douglass was born a slave during the early 1800’s in the American South and was deprived the opportunity of an education early on. He famously quoted that “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Just as Rodriguez’s education made him more aware of his surroundings, learning to read and write brought Douglass freedom because it gave him the tools to realize that slavery was not acceptable. In our day in age, education rids us of our ignorance by broadening our perspectives and perhaps changing the way we think.

Chris McCandless is another interesting individual. He was a college graduate who was studious and loved to read – all the qualities of a successful person. Yet, immediately after he graduated college, he was reportedly missing and two years later was found dead in an abandoned bus in the desolate and isolated region of the Alaskan Interior. Was this his fault? Perhaps he wasn’t thinking critically.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Richard Miller highlights McCandless’ tragedy in his essay “The Dark Night of the Soul,” which discusses the different perspectives on writing. He concludes that McCandless’ irrational behavior can be explained by his reading habits. McCandless took the books he read too literally; Miller quotes Jon Krakauer in his book about McCandless that “‘He was so enthralled by [Jack London’s] tales…that he seemed to forget they were works of fiction, constructions of the imagination that had more to do with London’s romantic sensibilities than with the actualities of life in the subarctic wilderness’” (445). Miller deduces that “because McCandless wanted to believe in the world London invented, because McCandless wanted to be enchanted, he failed to ask the question that Krakauer believes must be of concern to all readers: namely, what is the relationship between what the author says and the way the author lives?” (445), which suggests that McCandless wasn’t thinking critically enough to decipher fantasy from reality. Furthermore, McCandless “surrounded himself with books that reinforced his own beliefs – in this case, texts that confirmed his sense that he was living honorably by attempting to follow his beliefs to the letter” (445). This confirmation bias fueled the stubbornness and arrogance that he needed to justify his goal to live in Alaska with minimal food and supplies.

If McCandless had read in context and performed a reality check, he would have recognized the chimera of Jack London’s fantasies or realized that fleeing from humanity was not an appropriate course of action. Similarly, if Mark David Chapman hadn’t taken the book Catcher in the Rye so literally, maybe John Lennon would be alive today making music and spreading peace in the world. This is why critical thinking is emphasized so greatly in modern academic curriculum. Many universities, including Santa Clara University, require students to take a variety of classes such as CTW & C&I whose goals are for students to develop critical thinking and writing skills to ensure that they can accurately interpret ideas found in text, speech, or other mediums of communication.

Nonetheless, if education does nothing else, it can be inspiring. Throughout middle school and high school, I was blessed to have a multitude of inspiring teachers that each shared their own unique and practical experiences that I still remember to this day. One of my teachers, Mr. Schaa, came from a drug-ridden family and community in rural California. He attended school with bullies, drug dealers, and girls that were pregnant at 15 years of age. There were many instances in which he could have succumbed to the temptations around him, but he knew he didn’t want to throw his life away, becoming a “high school drop-out that works at McDonald’s.” Unlike many of his friends in high school (who chose the former path), Mr. Schaa attended community college, eventually transferring to UC Berkeley. After graduating, he moved to San Jose, CA, started a family, received his teaching credential, and helped establish a K-8 charter school in my East San Jose neighborhood. That same school, Ida Jew Academies, was where I met my 6th grade teacher Mr. Schaa, and with his experiences and words of wisdom, he inspired me to be the best person I can be, to never give up in the face of adversity, and to appreciate the opportunities that I am given. Overall, the educational system provides teachers an opportunity to share their stories and enlighten their students. It is imperative that students have this experience at a young age because it can positively shape their character and diversify their perspective on life as it did for me.

As we have seen, education is important because it allows us to think critically, to be inspired, and to gain a better understanding of the world. Richard Rodriguez realized that his parent’s working-class mindset conflicted with his own values. A lack of critical thinking for Chris McCandless lead to his demise. In addition, inspirational teachers like Mr. Schaa have made a big difference in students’ lives. All of these examples highlight what I believe are the aims of education. Although people may challenge its purpose, a more thorough analysis reveals that there are skills and experiences that can be best discovered by pursuing an education. So, when you are at school and ask yourself the question, “Why am I here?” or What’s the point?” you’ll immediately know why it’s important to never stop learning.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Importance of Education: Views of Richard Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass, Chris McCandless. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Importance of Education: Views of Richard Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass, Chris McCandless.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
Importance of Education: Views of Richard Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass, Chris McCandless. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Mar. 2024].
Importance of Education: Views of Richard Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass, Chris McCandless [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.