Pedagogy of the Oppressed

by

Paulo Freire

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The Oppressed Character Analysis

The oppressed are the collective group of people in the world who are exploited, intimidated, and “dehumanized” by an oppressive social system. Freire sees his philosophy as a means of helping any and all oppressed people change their conditions—which is why he refers to his educational model as a “pedagogy of the oppressed.”

The Oppressed Quotes in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed quotes below are all either spoken by The Oppressed or refer to The Oppressed . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed published in 2000.
Chapter 1 Quotes

…The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself…the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

While the problem of humanization has always, from an axiological point of view, been humankind’s central problem, it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes a myth. It is rather the indispensible condition for the quest for human completion.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. The man or woman who emerges is a new person, viable only as the oppressor-oppressed contradiction is superseded by the humanization of all people. Or to put it another way, the solution of this contradiction is born in the labor which brings into the world this new being: no longer oppressor, no longer oppressed, but human in the process of achieving freedom.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

Any situation in which “A” objectively exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression. Such a situation in itself constitutes violence, even when sweetened by false generosity, because it interferes with the individual’s ontological and historical vocation to be more fully human.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in “changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them”; for the more the oppressed can be led to adapt to that situation, the more easily they can be dominated.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Problem-posing education does not and cannot serve the interests of the oppressor. No oppressive order could permit the oppressed to begin to question: Why?

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause—the cause of liberation. And this commitment, because it is loving, is dialogical.

Related Characters: The Oppressed (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

The starting point for organizing the program content of education or political action must be the present, existential, concrete situation, reflecting the aspirations of the people. Utilizing certain basic contradictions, we must pose this existential, concrete, present situation to the people as a problem which challenges them and requires a response…

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 95-96
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The revolution is made neither by the leaders for the people, nor by the people for the leaders, but by both acting together in unshakable solidarity. This solidarity is born only when the leaders witness to it by their humble, loving, and courageous encounter with the people.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

Prior to the emergence of the people there is no manipulation (precisely speaking), but rather total suppression. When the oppressed are almost completely submerged in reality, it is unnecessary to manipulate them. In the antidialogical theory of action, manipulation is the response of the oppressor to the new concrete conditions of the historical process.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

In cultural invasion it is essential that those who are invaded come to see their reality with the outlook of the invaders rather than their own; for the more they mimic the invaders, the more stable the position of the latter becomes.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

The role of revolutionary leadership…is to consider seriously, even as they act, the reasons for any attitude of mistrust on the part of the people, and to seek out true avenues of communion with them, ways of helping the people to help themselves critically perceive the reality which oppresses them.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

...Organization requires authority, so it cannot be authoritarian; it requires freedom, so it cannot be licentious. Organization is, rather, a highly educational process in which leaders and people together experience true authority and freedom, which they then seek to establish in society by transforming the society which mediates them.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressed
Page Number: 178-79
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pedagogy of the Oppressed PDF

The Oppressed Character Timeline in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The timeline below shows where the character The Oppressed appears in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...dialogue with other people. Radicals do not see themselves as the gatekeeper to freedom for the oppressed , but instead they fight in solidarity with the oppressed. Because of this, the “pedagogy... (full context)
Chapter 1
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...the product of an unfair social order. Because of this, the most important task of oppressed people is to liberate themselves (and their oppressors) from an unjust system. When oppressors appear to... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
Any movement to defeat oppression, according to Freire, has to be led by oppressed people . Oppressed people have the most experience with oppression’s effects, and in fighting for their... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...ideas that hinder their freedom. For Freire, this becomes the role of a “pedagogy of the oppressed ”: to help the oppressed critically examine the nature of oppression, and take action to... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Static History vs. Fluid History Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
Dialectics Theme Icon
...is not possible. Freire points out that oppressors use a variety of techniques to dissuade oppressed people from critical reflection: if oppressed people realize that they live in an oppressive system, more... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
A pedagogy of the oppressed , for Freire, is designed to help people regain their humanity. A pedagogy led by... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...part of the first stage of Freire’s pedagogy involves understanding the consciousnesses of oppressors and oppressed people , and especially the inner conflicts of oppressed people. Freire defines oppression as an act... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...anything, oppressors prioritize “their right to live in peace”—but concede that they also depend on oppressed people ’s existence to hold power. Oppressors have a “materialistic” view toward their lives: through oppression,... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...beliefs and biases. To authentically achieve freedom, a convert should be able to work with oppressed people , without seeing them as ignorant or untrustworthy. He or she should also examine how... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
According to Freire, oppressed people can begin to gain confidence and conviction when they learn about the causes of oppression,... (full context)
Chapter 2
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...don’t have power are ignorant. Freire then asserts that his pedagogy, which aims to help oppressed people become free, must change the contradictory relationship between teachers and students. In this relationship, teachers... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...of questioning it or trying to change it. This helps  oppressors, who want to prevent oppressed people from understanding the true nature of oppression. Freire argues that oppressors combine “banking” education with... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...in conflict with their natural drive for freedom. However, educators who truly want to help oppressed people cannot wait for this to happen—they should work with oppressed people, as fellow students, to... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...on the hope that oppression is changeable and can be defeated in the future. When oppressed people understand this, they can shift from feeling resolved to feeling empowered. Therefore, the movement for... (full context)
Chapter 3
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...ways of organizing society. This faith must take into account the oppressors’ efforts to prevent oppressed people from using that power. When done correctly, dialogue should lead to mutual trust between the... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...with people: in Freire’s model, educators present elements of the oppressive system as “problems” that oppressed people then attempt to solve. (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Static History vs. Fluid History Theme Icon
...educators begin the process of dialogue, they should try to understand the objective conditions of oppressed people , and how oppressed people perceive those conditions. Because the class presents these conditions as... (full context)
Static History vs. Fluid History Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
Dialectics Theme Icon
“Themes” and “limit-situations” are closely related—sometimes, oppressed people live in conditions that prevent them from understanding the ideas that created those conditions. If... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
Education should push oppressed people and political leaders to investigate the “themes” of their time; this will help them understand... (full context)
Chapter 4
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...that praxis requires theory (a critical framework) in order to be complete. Revolutionary leaders and oppressed people should both use praxis while struggling for liberation so that the leaders are not merely... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...about the world—such as the idea that oppression is permanent and encourages freedom, and that oppressed people must adapt to it. These myths are found in everything from religion and economics to... (full context)
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Divide and Rule. Oppressors divide and isolate oppressed people to prevent them from organizing together for liberation. This creates rifts among different groups of... (full context)
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Manipulation. Oppressors use manipulation to control oppressed people and to prevent them from challenging the oppressors’ power. The myths used in conquest are... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...invasion, oppressors impose their own values and beliefs onto an oppressed culture. Cultural invasion makes oppressed peoples’ perspective align with that of the oppressors, so that the oppressors’ culture seems superior. This... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...attack the oppressors’ antidialogical methods. Revolutionary leaders must have the support, dialogue, and trust of oppressed people to be effective, and cooperation is how this happens. Unlike conquest, cooperation allows a revolutionary... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...inherently divides and alienates people from the world and from each other. For example, when oppressed people believe that the future is fixed, they will believe that changing the future with others... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
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...Organization is the opposite of manipulation, and is the natural result of unity. While unifying the oppressed , revolutionary leaders are also trying to organize them to view liberation as a common... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
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...“thematic investigations” in Chapter 3, noting that the process can help create cultural synthesis among the oppressed . It pushes people from different cultures to support each other and engage in dialogue,... (full context)