Recently I read a book about a couple that wasn’t your average love story, these two were intertwined in a romance involving a love sick boy and an adventurous cougar who has a young heart. These two shared a few months together, adventuring, sharing secrets, exploring the inner depths of life through each other. When one day everything changed, she had decided to go away, to leave without a second thought, she didn’t even say goodbye. The Reader, is a story that drag the audience through the heart-wrenching twists and turns that comes with adolescence and the consequences of losing that one true love.
Fast forward to the future when the couple meet, but this time it seems like they’re in another life. He was a law school student studying cases, attending a court case regarding the women guards in WWII, who had witnessed a barn burning down that help captive Jewish women where prisoners. One of those guards was her, the women he loved but who left in a blur. She was one of the five guards who were being tried for the murder of innocent lives.
Now, this women is smart, she’s strong willed and confident. She’s someone who knows herself well and doesn’t let anyone push her around. This time period, society didn’t allow women to run their own lives, to be independent, hard working feminists. She was fierce and ferocious with a heart of gold, but she is missing one very important thing, she’s illiterate. Missing the ability to defend herself all because she can’t read the notes about what had happened out there that night. Her colleagues had banded together and blamed the written report on her, making it seem as if she had wrote everything down and fabricated the story. Her fierce, independent nature makes her incredibly proud, admitting to the falsehood because she is ashamed of her illiteracy.
In a century that is booming with industrialism, being an illiterate is the hardest thing, everything requires reading or writing. Whether thats walking down the street or trying to order food, you have to be able to read at least a little bit. Being illiterate can cost you immensely, obtaining and keeping a job is extremely difficult in this economy as is, let alone when your qualifications are extremely limited. Not only does it financially affect a person, but a persons self esteem is compromised, leading to isolation, social anxiety or even increased anger. Not only is the mind being deprived but so is the body. Accidents are more likely to occur, medication can not be distributed due to the inability to read the warning labels or proper dosage amounts.
Imagine going through life not being able to read street signs, or menus. Todays increasing trend of social media and cell phones are completely out the window, and even the simple task of picking a movie to watch is nearly impossible.
So next time you groan about having to read something, think about all those who don’t even have that privilege.
Visit the American Library Association to learn more about ways to get involved with helping those who need it most.