Comparison Of Autobiography Of Malcolm X: Society And Self-Identity

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X: Society and Self-Identity The Autobiography of Malcolm X, written by Alex Haley, tells the story of Malcolm Little and his growth and change through life. Although the main purpose of autobiographies is to tell the story of one’s life through the individual’s own perspective, this story seems to have a greater purpose: to express the theme of the transformation and discovery of self-identity through the journey of Malcolm X’s life, as well as the influence and power of society on one’s self-identity. His character is molded and created over again by the changing influences throughout his life, often swayed by the oppression surrounding him. He learns to view the oppression and racism in his world from a different perspective as he matures in the autobiography. The story introduces the reader to Malcolm’s world before we meet Malcolm himself. It begins with the Klu Klux Klan’s visit to his house and mother. This foreshadowed the rest of Malcolm’s life, as it was filled with racism and oppression. Next, we learn of the favoritism Malcolm’s father had for him, likely because of his lighter skin …show more content…

45). Malcolm feels he identifies more with the hip people of the ghetto, and aspires to learn more of this newfound culture. He meets Shorty and dives deeper into criminal habits, as well as drugs and alcohol. He begins sporting zoot suits and undergoes getting a conk, a hairstyle that requires the painful procedure of chemically straightening the natural African American hair (p 55). He believes at the time that he has found a community where his race and culture are celebrated. The conk, however, is a result of oppression. He later realizes this, and says that a conk is a sign that a black person has lost his sense of self-identity (p. 57,

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