Commentary Of "Learning To Read" In Malcolm X´S Autobiography

672 words - 3 pages

In "Learning to Read," an excerpt found in The Autobiography of Malcolm X, author Malcolm X attacks his illiteracy while imprisoned for battling the white man. Malcolm in his conversations with other prisoners realized he was not as articulate with the hustlers in prison as he was in the street. Bimbi, a fellow prisoner in Charlestown Prison would take over conversations because of his vast vocabulary and knowledge from reading. This knowledge was where Malcolm X drew his inspiration to be Malcolm just as intelligent. This was his initial start toward his autonomous learning. Malcolm X explains, “Bimbi made me feel envy of his stock of knowledge.” He became fascinated with the vast amount of knowledge of Bimbi. When X first arrived in prison, the highest education he had was that of an eighth grader. Therefore, Malcolm begins reading to obtain the same eloquent speech, but he comes across a dilemma. X explains how he could not comprehend every word in the sophisticated books Bimbi read. Malcolm became frustrated because he could only read the words he knew but in the end had no understanding of what he just read.

While incarcerated, he requested a dictionary, tablets and pencils. After months of intensive memorizations of the dictionary, his reading began to start to reveal stories, meanings, and to teach history. As his newfound knowledge increased from reading every book he could get his hands on, so did his disgust for the “whitened” world in which he lived. Malcolm X describes that these books are his "Alma Mater," and that he is always reading to better his knowledge. His march toward political and spiritual intelligence launched with the teachings of Mr. Muhammad who stressed, “How history had been whitened” meaning when the history books were written by white men, the black man was simply left out. This bothered Malcolm X and because of this, when released from prison began his path towards the unification of members of the black (specifically...

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