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* At the start of ''Literature/TheCrownerJohnMysteries'', Sir John--like many of his class--is illiterate. He is embarrassed by this, especially as his man rival (and brother-in-law) the Sheriff of Exeter is literate. Over the course the books, John takes lessons form his clerk Thomas to become literate.

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* At the start of ''Literature/TheCrownerJohnMysteries'', Sir John--like many of his class--is illiterate. He is embarrassed by this, especially as his man main rival (and brother-in-law) the Sheriff of Exeter is literate. Over the course the books, John takes lessons form his clerk Thomas to become literate.



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* At the start of ''Literature/TheCrownerJohnMysteries'', Sir John--like many of his class--is illiterate. He is embarrassed by this, especially as his man rival (and brother-in-law) the Sheriff of Exeter is literate. Over the course the books, John takes lessons form his clerk Thomas to become literate.

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* Kira the Gelfling from ''Film/TheDarkCrystal'', despite being fluent in the Gelfling and Podling languages and even able to [[SpeaksFluentAnimal talk to animals]], has never even ''heard'' of reading. Jen's lack of difficulty explaining the concept implies that this might be common in the ''Dark Crystal'' universe, which is implied again in the TV prequel, when a Skeksis is genuinely impressed that a ''very'' upper-class Gelfling is literate.
-->'''Kira:''' What's writing?\\
'''Jen:''' Words that stay.

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-->'''Pit''': "Mayday! Mayday! This looks like the end! I never learned how to reeeeead!"

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* Leonard Derrin in ''Webcomic/BlondeSunrise'', due to growing up in poverty and having an ill father who could barely read himself, is illiterate. It's not until Daine decides to help him that Leonard can even so much as read his own name.

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* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', four of the nine mercs are illiterate. While Valve hasn't made a conclusive statement about which four, the Soldier is confirmed illiterate.

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* ''Series/LogansRun'': In "Man Out of Time", the tribe living in the ruins of the Sanctuary Project facility have no concept of what reading and writing are.


* ''Literature/OneEightHundredWhereRYou'': One of Jess's biggest secrets, and a great shame, is that while she can play a piece after hearing it once, she never learned to read sheet music. For an aspiring musician, this is a serious handicap, and she takes steps to remedy it when she's found out in book 2.

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* ''Literature/OneEightHundredWhereRYou'': One of Jess's biggest secrets, and a great shame, is that while she can play a piece after hearing it once, she never learned to read sheet music. For an aspiring musician, this is a serious handicap, handicap,[[note]]Music/JohnLennon notoriously had this problem, although it's not as much of an issue in rock and roll[[/note]] and she takes steps to remedy it when she's found out in book 2.

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* ''Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand'': Many of the escaped slaves don't know how to read, which makes sense given they would likely not be educated in this regard. Whenever they find writing, like when they intercept a Roman messenger, they have to ask someone like Spartacus what it says.


* Played for laughs in one episode of ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' where Mugen is revealed to be illiterate because of his habit of always ordering the same thing as his companions Fuu and Jin. A rather enthusiastic teacher acts as a DrillSergeantNasty and teaches him to read, and at the end of the episode, Mugen uses his newly acquired skills as a Graffiti artist as well as tagging his name on his companions' clothing... and possessions... [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments and pet.]] Incidentally, using this trope is a good example of the AnachronismStew of the series: Mugen is a nineteen-year-old from Ryukyu who has been a criminal his entire life; realistically Fuu and Jin should have been more surprised if he ''could'' read.

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* Played for laughs in one episode of ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' where Mugen is revealed to be illiterate because of his habit of always ordering the same thing as his companions Fuu and Jin. A rather enthusiastic teacher acts as a DrillSergeantNasty and teaches him to read, and at the end of the episode, Mugen uses his newly acquired skills as a Graffiti artist as well as tagging his name on his companions' clothing... and possessions... [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments and pet.]] pet. Incidentally, using this trope is a good example of the AnachronismStew of the series: Mugen is a nineteen-year-old from Ryukyu who has been a criminal his entire life; realistically Fuu and Jin should have been more surprised if he ''could'' read.



* ''LightNovel/BakaAndTestSummonTheBeasts'' does this with ButNotTooForeign Minami Shimada, who is Japanese but lived in Germany until the events of the series, so her reading and writing comprehension of kanji is poor, to the point that she is landed in Class F with the other protagonists, and [[spoiler: in the second season, we learn through a WholeEpisodeFlashback that on her first day at Fumizuki Academy, she even accidentally wrote her name wrong. This handicap is used in the end of the episode for a truly [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments stellar]] [[TearJerker moment.]]]]

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* ''LightNovel/BakaAndTestSummonTheBeasts'' does this with ButNotTooForeign Minami Shimada, who is Japanese but lived in Germany until the events of the series, so her reading and writing comprehension of kanji is poor, to the point that she is landed in Class F with the other protagonists, and [[spoiler: in the second season, we learn through a WholeEpisodeFlashback that on her first day at Fumizuki Academy, she even accidentally wrote her name wrong. This handicap is used in the end of the episode for a truly [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments stellar]] [[TearJerker moment.]]]]episode.]]



'''Japan''': (''{{beat}}'') [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Italy is literate?]]

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'''Japan''': (''{{beat}}'') [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Italy is literate?]]literate?



* The [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast aptly named]] BloodKnight Zsadist of J.R.Ward's ''Literature/BlackDaggerBrotherhood'' series is illiterate for ''well over a century'' [[spoiler: until he fell in love with the aristocratic vampire Bella, and learned to read in order to be "[[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome worthy of courting]]" her. Before then, Zsadist made no effort to change his illiterate state, though there were hints it ''did'' bother him, since it not only inconvenienced him but also forced him to rely on others - mainly his twin, Phury - to accomplish simple tasks. Once he recognized his feelings for Bella, he worked relentlessly with his tutor, Mary, with all his hard work at last culminating in him writing, [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments "I love you"]] to Bella in a squiggly, childlike handwriting.]]

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* The [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast aptly named]] BloodKnight Zsadist of J.R.Ward's ''Literature/BlackDaggerBrotherhood'' series is illiterate for ''well over a century'' [[spoiler: until he fell in love with the aristocratic vampire Bella, and learned to read in order to be "[[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome worthy "worthy of courting]]" courting" her. Before then, Zsadist made no effort to change his illiterate state, though there were hints it ''did'' bother him, since it not only inconvenienced him but also forced him to rely on others - mainly his twin, Phury - to accomplish simple tasks. Once he recognized his feelings for Bella, he worked relentlessly with his tutor, Mary, with all his hard work at last culminating in him writing, [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments "I love you"]] you" to Bella in a squiggly, childlike handwriting.]]



* In ''Literature/TheNewJob'', Theofil (having grown up as a nineteenth-century Eastern European peasant) doesn't learn to read or write until late in life. When he does, it leads to a SugarWiki/{{Heartwarming Moment|s}} when he writes his first-ever love letter to his wife of twenty years.

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* In ''Literature/TheNewJob'', Theofil (having grown up as a nineteenth-century Eastern European peasant) doesn't learn to read or write until late in life. When he does, it leads to a SugarWiki/{{Heartwarming Moment|s}} heartwarming moment when he writes his first-ever love letter to his wife of twenty years.


* ''VideoGame/Fallout4'': ''Nuka World'': If the player picks up comics, [[TokenEvilTeammate Gage]] will sometimes say something along the lines of this:

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* ''VideoGame/Fallout3'': You can talk Mister Lopez out of suicide (and gain [[KarmaMeter good karma]]) by convincing him to act as a father figure to the young orphan Ted Strayer. Mister Lopez will mention teaching him how to read. It's implied most wastelanders are illiterate.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'': ''Honest Hearts''. [[CoolOldGuy The Survivalist's]] [[ApocalypticLog journals]] mention a group of children [[spoiler: who would eventually become the Sorrows]] arriving in Zion Canyon. He specifically goes out of his way to point out that they're literate.
**
''VideoGame/Fallout4'': ''Nuka World'': If the player picks up comics, [[TokenEvilTeammate Gage]] will sometimes say something along the lines of this:

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* In ''Fanfic/IveGotYourBack'', Marina can read in her native language, but she can't read Squidish.


** In a Season 1 episode, Krusty the Clown on is cleared of a robbery in part because of his revealed illiteracy. In light of later information about him, it's kind of a FridgeLogic moment - Krusty is supposed to be the son of a Rabbi who was being molded for that career, so it's hard to believe he would be illiterate. In fairness, he did have a minimal reading level (and he is a drug addict), which makes this somewhat more realistic. In one of the DVD episode commentaries, the makers mention that they decided to leave out this character trait after a while, seeing as how it really did not make sense that Krusty could not read and yet do the things he does.

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** In a Season 1 episode, Krusty the Clown on is cleared of a robbery in part because of his revealed illiteracy. In light of later information about him, it's kind of a FridgeLogic moment - Krusty is supposed to be the son of a Rabbi who was being molded for that career, so it's hard to believe he would be illiterate. In fairness, he did does have a minimal reading level (and he is a drug addict), which makes this somewhat more realistic. In one of the DVD episode commentaries, the makers mention that they decided to leave out this character trait after a while, seeing as how it really did not make sense that Krusty could not read and yet do the things he does.



** In one book on the series, one writer mentions how, during the story conference, they threw around moments throughout the series in which Homer was shown reading, and ultimately decided to go with RuleOfFunny.

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** In one book on about the series, one writer mentions how, during the story conference, they threw around moments throughout the series in which Homer was shown reading, and ultimately decided to go with RuleOfFunny.



** In his [[AdamWesting bizarre self-presentation]], Neil Gaiman is the ButtMonkey of a team of book authors/con artists, but ultimately reveals himself to be a DiabolicalMastermind and puts his name on the book they publish. He then reveals that he's never learned to read (to imply that all of his previous novels were the result of a similar con).

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** In his [[AdamWesting bizarre self-presentation]], Neil Gaiman is the ButtMonkey of a team of book authors/con artists, but ultimately reveals himself to be a DiabolicalMastermind and puts his name on the book they publish. He then reveals that he's never learned to read (to imply that all of his previous novels were the result results of a similar con).cons).



'''Blackbeard''': My debauchery was my way of compensating!

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'''Blackbeard''': My debauchery was my way of compensating!compensatin'!



* It's fairly understandable that Broadway and Hudson in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' never learned to read, as they aren't human and come from a society where reading wasn't important. Hudson feels shame for it, but believes he is too old to learn now, in contrast Broadway, in true "ignorance is bliss" style, ''brags'' that he has no need for literacy. Not only was their VerySpecialEpisode done better than usual, but it actually ''does'' affect later episodes, when the two are seen practicing reading, seeking help from others, or struggling to read. In the last canon episode, Broadway's reading has improved enough that he's seen reading Shakespearean poetry to impress his girlfriend, Angela.
** There's also Hakon, again pretty understandable since he's from the early 11th century, too. On the other hand, he's ''glad'' of it, rather than neutral—it means the Magus's spellbook has no effect when he looks upon its pages!

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* It's fairly understandable that Broadway and Hudson in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' never learned to read, as they aren't human and come from a society where reading wasn't important. Hudson feels shame for it, but believes he is too old to learn now, in contrast to Broadway, who, in true "ignorance is bliss" style, ''brags'' that he has no need for literacy. Not only was their VerySpecialEpisode done better than usual, but it actually ''does'' affect later episodes, when the two are seen practicing reading, seeking help from others, or struggling to read. In the last canon episode, Broadway's reading has improved enough that he's seen reading Shakespearean poetry to impress his girlfriend, Angela.
** There's also Hakon, again pretty understandable since he's from the early 11th century, too. On the other hand, he's ''glad'' of it, rather than neutral—it means the Magus's spellbook has no effect on him when he looks upon its pages!



** Parodied. Harvey, a lawyer and able to read, goes to prison. Later he's shown learning to read a children's book and having a GoldenMoment when he succeeds. Six months later we see him having the exact same moment, though this time reading ''Penthouse'' forum.

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** Parodied. Harvey, a lawyer and able to read, goes to prison. Later he's shown learning to read a children's book and having a GoldenMoment when he succeeds. Six months later later, we see him having the exact same moment, though this time reading ''Penthouse'' forum.the''Penthouse'' forums.



* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' called "Why Dizzy Can't Read" revealed that Dizzy Devil was illiterate. Babs makes a reference to a certain episode of ''Facts of Life''.
* The ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' episode "The Fine Print" had the villain Looten Plunder trick an illiterate worker named Joe into spraying poison instead of fertilizer by putting stickers of smiling apples over the barrels' skull and crossbones insignias. The Planeteers help Joe understand the importance of learning to read and undo the damages Plunder tricked him into causing.
* A variation is seen in ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', where it is revealed that neither Toki nor Skwisgaar can read ''music'' (Skwisgaar in particular claims to have music dyslexia), which you'd think is a big deal when you play in the most popular band in the history of the world. Actually, such a thing is [[JustifiedTrope quite possible]]. Most rock and other popular music performers don't use or need sheet music. They write music by jamming and learn by ear. It's not as common as it used to be though. Many of the great {{Blues}} musicians of the '20s and '30s couldn't read ''at all'', let alone read sheet music.

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* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' called "Why Dizzy Can't Read" revealed that Dizzy Devil was illiterate. Babs makes a reference to a certain episode of ''Facts of Life''.
illiterate.
* The ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' episode "The Fine Print" had the villain Looten Plunder trick an illiterate worker named Joe into spraying poison instead of fertilizer by putting stickers of smiling apples over the barrels' skull and crossbones insignias. The Planeteers help Joe understand the importance of learning to read and undo the damages damage Plunder tricked him into causing.
* A variation is seen in ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', where it is revealed that neither Toki nor Skwisgaar can read ''music'' (Skwisgaar in particular claims to have music dyslexia), which you'd think is a big deal when you play in the most popular band in the history of the world. Actually, world, but actually, such a thing is [[JustifiedTrope quite possible]]. Most rock and other popular music performers don't use or need sheet music. They write music by jamming and learn by ear. It's not as common as it used to be though. Many of the great {{Blues}} musicians of the '20s and '30s couldn't read ''at all'', let alone read sheet music.



* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheRaccoons'' Bert befriends a hermit who was about to be thrown out of his swamp home. He reveals to Bert that he cannot read, which is how he didn't know that [[spoiler:the papers left by his father were property deeds, which make him the legal owner of the swamp.]]

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* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheRaccoons'' ''WesternAnimation/TheRaccoons'', Bert befriends a hermit who was is about to be thrown out of his swamp home. He reveals to Bert that he cannot read, which is how he didn't know that [[spoiler:the papers left by his father were property deeds, which make him the legal owner of the swamp.]]



* Played for Laughs in ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan'' which features a character on a ShowWithinAShow making out with a girl, pausing to tearfully confess that he cannot read, then continue to make out. It implied to be part of a VerySpecialEpisode In-Universe.

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* Played for Laughs in ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan'' which features a character on a ShowWithinAShow making out with a girl, pausing to tearfully confess that he cannot read, then continue continuing to make out. It It's implied to be part of a VerySpecialEpisode In-Universe.



* On ''WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer'', the villain in "Dora's Royal Rescue" never learned to read and thus is trying to stop everyone else from reading. In the end, Literature/DonQuixote agrees to teach him.

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* On ''WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer'', the villain in "Dora's Royal Rescue" never learned to read read, and is thus is trying to stop everyone else from reading. In the end, Literature/DonQuixote agrees to teach him.



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* In ''Literature/TheNewJob'', Theofil (having grown up as a nineteenth-century Eastern European peasant) doesn't learn to read or write until late in life. When he does, it leads to a SugarWiki/{{Heartwarming Moment|s}} when he writes his first-ever love letter to his wife of twenty years.

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