Look at the structure of the novel. 1) Discuss elements of the narrative structure: exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical and linear story? How does the story's structure express the book's ideas? 2) Examine the way both Malcolm and Alex Haley use the other people in the story to express Malcolm's ideas.
Look at the structure of the novel.
1) Discuss elements of the narrative structure: exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical and linear story? How does the story's structure express the book's ideas?
2) Examine the way both Malcolm and Alex Haley use the other people in the story to express Malcolm's ideas.
Discuss whether you think this statement is true or false: "Malcolm X uses the autobiography to market his image rather than his ideas." Use two examples from the book to support your argument.
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Malcolm Little, known as Malcolm X later on in his life, was born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. Earl and Louis Norton Little, his parents, worked hard to support their children of eight. Malcolm’s mother was a homemaker and his father was a Baptist minister and a supporter of the Black National leader, Marcus Garvey. As a result Malcolm’s father received many death threats from white supremacist. They were forced to move to many different places. In 1929 the Littles’ house was burned to the ground due to their strong support of African American advancement. Two years later the body of Earl Little was found mutilated lying across the towns trolley track. The police ruled it an accident but the Littles were certain that it was a member of the Black Legion. After Earl’s death Malcolm’s mother had an emotional breakdown and was sent to a mental institution. Her children were separated and sent to different foster homes.
Malcolm was smart and had a dream of becoming a lawyer, but he lost his interest in school when his favorite teacher told him, “A lawyer is no realistic goal for a nigger.” Malcolm dropped out of school and spent time in Boston finding different jobs to earn money. By 1942 Malcolm was affiliated with narcotics, prostitution and gambling rings. Malcolm and his best friend Malcolm Jarvis, also known as Shorty, was arrested and convicted on burglary charges in 1946. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Malcolm’s whole life changed. Malcolm’s brother came to visit him and told him about the Nation of Islam. He became very interested and studied the teachings of the Islam Nation. In 1952 he was paroled and devoted himself the Islam Nation. He changed his last name to X because he considered Little to be a slave name and chose X to represent his lost tribal name.
Elijah Muhammad appointed Malcolm as a minister and national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam. He also allowed Malcolm to establish new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan, and Harlem, New York. Malcolm used the newspapers, television, and word of mouth to spread the Muslim message to others. Malcolm had much controversy surrounding him. Even FBI agents posed as Malcolm’s bodyguard to monitor the Nation of Islam’s activities. Malcolm met Betty Shabaz and then married her in 1958.
Malcolm felt betrayed when he found out that Elijah Muhammad was secretly having relations with up to six different women, some of which resulted in children. As a result Malcolm ended his relation with the Islam Nation. Malcolm founded the Muslim Mosque INC around the same time. Malcolm went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This trip changed Malcolm’s views on the world. He quoted “blonde haired, blued eyed men I could call my brother”. Before when Malcolm was with the Nation of Islam, they felt the white man and their society worked to keep blacks from making themselves more powerful and achieving political power, economic, and social success. When he returned to the United States he taught to all the races not just to African Americans.
The nation of Islam wasn’t very pleased with Malcolm after he renounced Elijah Muhammad. They had a mark of assassination on Malcolm. They tried many times but failed. They even firebombed his house with his wife and children. They all escaped with mild injuries.
On February 21, 1965 at a speaking engagement in Manhattan, New York, at the Audubon Ballroom Malcolm was killed. Three gunmen rushed Malcolm onstage and shot his fifteen times at close range. Malcolm was pronounced dead on arrival. 1500 people attended his funeral. His wife had his twin daughters later on that year. The three men who murdered Malcolm were all associated with the Islam Nation and were convicted of first degree murder. Malcolm was buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
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