Coming to an Awareness of Language

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Coming To an Awareness of Language

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

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