Essay on Analysis Of Alex Haley 's The Autobiography Of Malcolm X

Essay on Analysis Of Alex Haley 's The Autobiography Of Malcolm X

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Symbolism plays an important part in every piece of literature. Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X displays many different symbols that offer insight into his life. These symbols demonstrate the changes that he went through during his dramatic change from who the world viewed as a nobody to one of the most controversial and influential men during the civil rights movement. Alex Haley paints a vivid picture of how status became an important part of Malcolm X’s life. The author explores how the simple hair straightening process called conk tied him to the Caucasian world. Finally, Haley points out the significance of how eyeglasses, watches, and suitcases play a significant role in Malcolm X’s life, by being the only items that remain with him when he joins the Nation of Islam. Symbolism in any piece of literature allows the reader an insightful look into the characters life. The symbolism in Haley’s Autobiography gives a look directly into how the specific items in Malcom X’s life shaped him as a man, and brought him through the many transformations that made him into the powerful advocate of black rights that he became.
As a child Malcolm did not have many material possessions. He did not feel a sense of belonging with any of the groups around him. Therefore, when he moved into the city he did not squander any time acquiring all the materialistic things he felt he needed to establish his status. When speaking about the reasoning behind his change, he concludes, “Like hundreds of thousands of country-bred Negroes who had come to the Northern black ghetto before me, and have come since, I’d also acquired all the other fashionable ghetto adornments- the zoot suits and conk that I have described, liquor, cigarette...


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...ing Malcolm’s self-worth. The author explains how a “conk” hairstyle tied him to the white world and showed him his own internalized racism. The writer also demonstrates how eyeglasses, a watch, and suitcases played a major role in his final transformation to the great leader that he made himself into. All of these symbols work together through the captivating tale of his life, and illustrates the many things that helped to shape him as a man. All things considered, Haley reveals just how critical symbols are in not only Malcolm X’s lives, but in everyone’s lives. Ultimately challenging his readers to look at their own lives in an attempt to discover what their personal symbols are. Malcolm X’s life had many challenges and setbacks, nevertheless, he discovered who he wanted to be and rose to the challenge, proving himself an important and influential leader.

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