In the short narrative, Coming to an Awareness of Language, by Malcolm X, we are told the story of how a young Malcolm X developed from a illiterate street hustler to a self educated man in prison who would later go on to lead the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X recalls his stay in the Norfolk Prison Colony School as never feeling “so truly free in life. ” OInTThe reader gets a firsthand account of the story from Malcolm X, which gives the audience a better and more realistic connection to situations in the story.
Malcolm X did not have an easy life growing up.
After the loss of his father, a Baptist minister and a black nationalist, and the admittance of his mother to a mental institution at an early age, Malcolm was dealt another blow when his middle school teacher told him his dreams of being a lawyer was, “no realistic goal for a nigger,” he then lost interest in school and delved into a world of petty crime.
In 1946, Malcolm X was arrested and convicted of burglary and sentenced to 10 years in prison. While there he tried to write letters to old friends and other dope peddlers, but never got any reply because they were to illiterate to write back.
He even decided to write to mayors, governors, and later, Harry S. Truman, but he still never got a reply because he could not get his point across. Eventually this all lead to Malcolm X wanting a home education. Malcolm X was never one for inaction. Many factors influenced his want for a better education, from not getting replies to letters he sent to the outside world, to the inmates that were in prison serving time with him. In the Charlestown Prison, Malcolm X started to become envious of Bimbi, who was a more educated and more knowledgeable inmate who was also a follower of Elijah Muhammad.
With a new motivation to learn Malcolm decided to mimic Bimbi but fell short due to his illiteracy. “…every book I picked up had few sentences which didn’t contain anywhere from one to nearly all the words that might as well have been in Chinese. When I skipped all those words, of course, I really ended up with little idea of what the book said. ” Malcolm X requested a dictionary, pencils, and paper and decided to work on his penmanship and learn words by copying and writing out the first dictionary. Eventually Malcolm X learned decided to copy the entire dictionary which eventually broadened his word-base.
In Norfolk Prison Colony Malcolm X felt free. Malcolm X felt that during his stay in the Norfolk Prison Colony he never felt more truly free. During his sentence, Malcolm X expanded his mind and became motivated to learned things that he most likely wouldn’t have on the streets. He becomes infatuated with reading and he spent his time in the library or in his bunk reading different books. Overtime Malcolm X became more influenced by Elijah Muhammad, a religious leader of the Nation of Islam. After finishing his time in prison, Malcolm X would also become a key leader of the Nation of Islam.
In Coming to an Awareness of Language, the learning process that the author goes through can be compared to that of our own. Malcolm X put effort into every part of his learning experience. He struggles working on his penmanship, and is excited by learning word that he didn’t know existed like aardvark. Here the reader feels a connection to Malcolm X’s excitement and pain in his process of learning and writing new words to their own experiences learning. “I never realized so many words existed! … In my slow, painstaking, ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything printed on that first page, down to punctuation marks. Malcolm X put his motivation to use, because of his prison studies he increased his education level far past what it once was. In the short narrative, Coming to an Awareness of Language, the reader is told how Malcolm X’s grew from an illiterate street hustler to a self educated man in the Norfolk Prison Colony School, who would later go on to lead the Nation of Islam. Although his body was in prison, by reading and learning different things, Malcolm X freed his mind and explored different books and followings.
Cite this Coming to an Awareness of Language
Coming to an Awareness of Language. (2016, Dec 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/coming-to-an-awareness-of-language/