Malcolm X Learning to Read

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Bintu Sesay

“Learning To Read”
In “learning to read” Malcolm X takes the reader through his journey of educating himself whiles being incarcerated. An articulate and former street hustler that commanded attention with only his presence Malcolm X talks about not realizing how ignorant he was to his own self-knowledge until he lost his freedom to the inside world of a penitentiary. He realized the only words or sentences he could put together were those of simple sentences not far from a child’s vocabulary.

Malcolm X uses ethos to give the reader knowledge on who he was and what lead him into such a situation of being incarcerated in the Norfolk prison. He uses credibility to point out the facts that whiles being a street hustler, he didn’t focus on the bigger picture which was obtaining knowledge and widening and expanding his none existent vocabulary. Whiles in the process of educating himself Malcolm X learned about the Islamic religion. He became an orthodox Muslim. This led him to change his name due to the Islamic teachings of Elijah Muhammad.

He uses logos logic meaning to persuade the reader that he started out not knowing anything but how to survive as a street hustler. Then later on checking out books from the prison library and underlining and highlighting words he was not familiar with which ended up helping him expand his once none existent vocabulary. Which later on helps him with his journey as philosopher and spokesman for black separatism.

Malcolm X talks about the struggles he went through just to continue enjoying a great book. He would work around the prison guard times only to continue reading late at night. “At one-hour intervals at night guards paced past every room. Each time I heard the approaching footsteps; I jumped into bed and feigned sleep.” (p.213)

He also uses pathos to describe his sense of thoughts and feeling as each word he read started to become more and more understandable. Malcolm X also learned about his...
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