The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X

In his autobiography, Malcolm X conveys his life story in a very personal manner by incorporating remarks and reflections of his childhood events. Through the use of foreshadow, personal commentary, diction, and tone, Malcolm’s writing style heightens the autobiography’s ability to convey the hardships and transformations of his life. Malcolm repeatedly uses foreshadowing in his book in order to describe to his readers how far his life has taken him. For example, while exploring Boston Malcolm comes across Harvard University for the first time and says, “I didn’t know much about it. Nobody that day could have told me I would give an address before the Harvard Law school Forum some twenty years later.”(43) In this excerpt, Malcolm foreshadows, with a proud and nostalgic tone, in twenty years he will have become worthy enough to give an address at Harvard University, a prestigious university. He does this in order to foreshadow a transformation in his life as well as to provide a counterbalance to the book’s grave mood. In addition to the use of foreshadow, Malcolm builds upon the traditional first person narrative style by including his personal commentary about his childhood experiences. This is done with the same strong, blunt tone in which Malcolm X used to influence his crowds and increases the autobiography’s sense of authenticity. While recalling the memory of getting his first conk Malcolm remarks, “How ridiculous I was! Stupid enough to stand there simply lost in admiration of my hair now looking “white,”… I joined the multitude of Negro men and women... that mutilate their God-created bodies to try to look pretty by white standards… you’ll see conks on black men and black women wearing these green and pink and purple and red and platinum-blonde wigs. They’re all more ridiculous than a slapstick comedy. It makes you wonder if the Negro has completely lost his sense of identity” (57) Malcolm X describes, in disgust, how...
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