Malcolm X Learning to Read Essay

1. Subject: This reading is about Malcolm X gaining inspiration to learn how to read and write during his time in prison and the many wonders of the world he learns of through reading. The topic is Malcolm X’s passion for learning and the main ideas are what he learns about which drives him to fight for the nonwhite man. The setting takes place in Charlestown Prison and Norfolk Prison Colony where Malcolm X was imprisoned in 1946-1953. Characters included in the reading are an inmate named Bimbi who inspired Malcolm X to learn, Elijah Muhammad, several authors, whites, and nonwhites.

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2. Occasion: The author wrote this piece in 1965 to inform the readers of his imminent desire to learn how to read and write because he was embarrassed by his lack of knowledge and of the things he had learned about the white man’s actions to nonwhites.

3. Audience: The author is writing to the general audience. The audience might not know how Malcolm X became imprisoned or what he did immediately after his release but they do know that he would read all day, every day if he could.

Malcolm X has a very appreciative tone when it comes to what he had learned and very curious. When he learns of certain history that applies to people just like him, however, he sounds very disappointed.

4. Purpose: The purpose of this piece was to inform readers of how Malcolm X learned to read and write and his strong passion for knowledge. There is some talk about how the white man has done evil deeds to nonwhites and Malcolm X does show his unfortunate dislike towards the white man because of history. Overall, Malcolm X focuses on how time has given him the opportunity to learn more than many people can ever hope to learn.

5. Speaker: The speaker is the author, Malcolm X. The whole reading is based off Malcolm X’s point of view since it is an autobiography.

6. Passage: On page 130, the 6th paragraph, “I copied into my tablet everything printed on that first page, down to the punctuation marks.” I especially like this line, because it shows Malcolm X’s determination and his true desire to learn. The reader can imagine him copying pages of a dictionary onto his tablet all day and it wouldn’t tire him out.


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