Malcolm X

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Robert Jones
Engl. 2072-001
02/24/2010
Compare and Contrast Of Malcolm X Poems
Malcolm X, one of the most iconic faces of the civil rights movement if often paid tribute to by writers and poets. Robert Hayden and Margaret Walker are two African American poets that paid homage to Malcolm X. Interestingly enough; two poems about the same person are written in two completely different ways and focus on separate intervals of his life. Robert Hayden focuses on Malcolm’s life as a big picture and uses metamorphosis as the central theme, along with metaphoric language throughout to paint the picture of a very religious, very focused man. Margaret Walker focuses on the death of Malcolm X. She uses sonnets to form her poem and vehement descriptive language to paid homage to the late Malcolm X. Immediately in the next four lines Malcolm’s childhood transforms into his teenage/young adulthood years. He seems to be happier than he was as a child, yet still troubled. He became known as Dee-troit Red Malcolm was already fleeing his given name on the search to change who he felt he was. The metamorphosis that Hayden focuses on is made even more apparent with this line. He conked his hair Hayden does not meaninglessly place this line into the poem. The conking of the hair was something that was very popular amongst many African American males during the 1920’s through the 1960’s. This was an attempt by Malcolm to appear to look more like a white male. The attempt of metamorphosis was not only the central them of Hayden’s poem but was also a central theme in the life of Malcolm X. Malcolm’s childhood controlled what he was slowly becoming as an adult. “His injured childhood bullied him…he could not hurt the enemy powered against him there.” In these few lines in the poem it was apparent that Malcolm have made some attempts to better himself and perhaps gain equality but the evidence of his troubled youth and need for change held him back. Part three of Hayden’s...
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