Can A dictionary be used for more then looking up unfamiliar words? According
to the article “Malcolm X: A Homemade Education from The Autobiography of Malcolm
X, a dictionary is used as A tool to learn formal English. Malcolm explains his battle
between street language and formal language. While in Charlestown Prison, he uses
self motivation and teaches himself formal English. The way he does it is very unique.
Malcolm calls himself “the most articulate hustler out there”, but faces incredible
frustration when it cam to expressing his feeling. As A result of been being an articulate
hustler, the only language he knew was slag. For example, in the article Malcolm
explains how he wasn’t able to construct A letter to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm also
struggled when it came to having conversions. Due to Malcolm’s problems, when him
and the character Bimbi had conversions Bimbi took charge.
Malcolm’s struggle made him realize the importance of formal English in the
world. He decided to then commit himself to accomplish the talent of reading and
writing. He quotes “I saw that the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary-to
study to learn some new words”. So that is exactly what he did. He requested a
dictionary along with some tablets and pencils from the Norfolk Prison Colony School.
Days on days he spent reading and copying from the dictionary. As A result, his
vocabulary grew and was now able to read books and understand them.
As A result the greatest benefit Malcolm accomplished was he became freer. He
enjoys reading and states “You couldn’t have gotten me out of books with A wedge”. If
you have A good imagination you don’t just read the words you submit yourself into the
story. This can take you on adventures throughout other worlds and times. Even tho
Malcolm was still in prison he never been truly free.
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