Malcolm X Themes Present In Term Paper

Length: 12 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Teaching Type: Term Paper Paper: #60862194 Related Topics: Richard Rodriguez, Theme, Autobiography Of My Mother, Transformative Learning
Excerpt from Term Paper :

..I never will forget how shocked I was when I began reading about slavery's total horror. It made such an impact upon me that it later became one of my favorite subjects when I became a minister of Mr. Muhammad's. The world's most monstrous crime, the sin and the blood on the white man's hands, are almost impossible to believe." (Malcolm X, p. 1)

It was upon these revelations that Malcolm X would unknowingly prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice. He tells that he was during this time in his personal development addicted to gaining any knowledge that might help him better understand the plight of his people and how he could help them advance. It was this orientation that would eventually launch him into a position of momentous influence and dangerous visibility. Malcolm X would sacrifice his life as a consequence of the things he had learned during his time in imprisoned meditation.

Just as the theme of sacrifice drives Rodriguez away from his people and his culture, so does the same theme make Malcolm *** symbol for the identity of his people and culture.

4.Native intelligence vs. Academic intelligence

The idea of Native Intelligence vs. Academic Intelligence suggests that there is a fundamental difference between the type of enlightenment gained in the formal educational setting and the type of insight garnered from background, experience and personal intuition. In a certain respect, the two texts under consideration in the following essay seem to perceive the need for balance between these two intelligences, though ultimately, each of the respective authors under consideration would gravitate increasingly toward academic intelligence. With both Robert Rodriguez and Malcolm X, we are given authors who are blessed with a rich native intelligence but with both, it is ultimately academic intelligence which allows them to achieve their respective objectives in life.

In the conception offered by Rodriguez, there is a fundamental difference between the kind of intelligence for which school educates us and that for which our families and cultures provide fundamental grounding. The latter of these, native intelligence, is a kind of inherent body of knowledge, experience and identity passed between generations whereas academic intelligence is gathered in formal contexts such as Rodriguez' school. What is most compelling about the author's differentiation of these intelligences is the portrayal of native intelligence as fundamentally coming from a more personal and emotional place. According to Rodriguez, "whit his family, the boy has the intense pleasure of intimacy, the family's consolation in feeling public alienation. Lavish emotions texture home life. Then, at school, the instruction bids him to trust lonely reason primarily. Immediate needs set the pace of his parents' lives. From his mother and father the boy learns to trust spontaneity and nonrational ways of knowing. Then, at school, there is mental calm. Teachers emphasize the value of a reflectiveness that opens a space between thinking and immediate action." (Rodriguez, p. 599)

While Rodriguez lamented the loss of his connection to the source of his rich native intelligence, he would still consider it an absolute necessity if he was to advance further than the generation before him in his family. As for Malcolm X, native intelligence was until his imprisonment the only kind to which he had access. He recalls that he was a naturally gifted street hustler because he knew how to communicate with people based on a certainly internally developed instinct. But he recognized, especially in the written form, that his intellect lacked the necessary form to compel others. He remembers that "I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote, especially those to Mr. Elijah Muhammad. In the street, I had...


I had commanded attention when I said something. But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn't articulate, I wasn't even functional. How would I sound writing in slang, the way 1 would say it, something such as, 'Look, daddy, let me pull your coat about a cat, Elijah Muhammad -- '" (Malcolm X, p. 1)

As Malcolm X explains and as Robert Rodriguez ultimately resolves, the gifts given to them both naturally and from their respective upbringings would have been squandered with ultimately giving over to a constructive engagement of academic intelligence.

5. Language Change, how important is it?

Few cultural forces are more powerful or carry a greater capacity to influence inter-cultural experiences than language. The ability to understand and use a language can be a critical determinant of one's experience within a given society. So is this quite well demonstrated in the set of essays that we will discuss here. According to works by Robert Rodriguez and Malcolm X, the ability to change one's linguistic ability is tantamount to the ability to control one's status, one's future prospects and one's relationship to the broader culture. And as the reader finds in both texts, language change can have a transformative effect on the individual learner.

For Rodriguez, the language change would quite literally denote a linguistic transition toward English as a primary language. Rodriguez observes that with his increasing knowledge of the English language came an increasing aptitude in his studies, an increasing comfort in school and a grander sense of the opportunities before him. But with this linguistic change also came a sharp cultural separation between his experiences and those of his parents. In turn, this cultural separation would give way to a feeling of personal separation. Rodriguez remembers that "it mattered that education was changing me. It never ceased to matter. My brother and sisters would giggle at our mother's mispronounced words. They'd correct her gently. My mother laughed girlishly one night, trying not to pronounce sheep as ship. From a distance, I listened sullenly." (Rodriguez, p. 602) Here, we can see that Rodriguez has not only come to feel a personal distance from his family, especially the preceding generation, but he even feels a twinge of embarrassment and resentment for his parents that stems from insecurities regarding his own fading cultural identity. To that end, we may suggest that language change is a singularly important factor in Rodriguez' educational experience.

For Malcolm X as well, language change would be the single most important factor in his educational experience. Contrary to Rodriguez, Malcolm X did not have the barrier of another linguistic tradition to overcome in his studies of the English language. But also contrary to Rodriguez, Malcolm X did not have access to the same academic opportunities. This meant that for Malcolm X, language change would take the form of a remarkable self-guided refinement of his knowledge and mastery of the English language. As Malcolm X indicates, "many who today hear me somewhere in person, or on television, or those who read something I've said, will think I went to school far beyond the eighth grade. This impression is due entirely to my prison studies." (Malcolm X, p. 1)

That Malcolm X credits his education with the impressions that he commands with others is important to our discussion. Indeed, this is a direct product of the language change which his unique training method helped to facilitate. For Rodriguez, a similar effect is achieved. As he describes throughout his essay, his clear English language acumen has helped him to achieve a positive impression among those around him. Though their particular aims were different, both of the authors in question would succeed in using their linguistic changes in order to gain the respect and support of those around them. The language change would serve each immensely well along his chosen path.

6. it's only an education that liberates, compare this theme with malcolm x and rodriquez, with thesis.

Education is often characterized as the key to personal advancement and self-determination. In other words, one who strives for achievement here will gain the tools to achieve elsewhere in life. However, as to the assertion that it liberates, the two texts under consideration cast this assumption into some doubt, instead noting that the hegemonic sociological influences resident to education may in some regards counteract this liberation.

Indeed, this notion that education liberates is actually challenged considerably in both the texts by Malcolm X and Rodriguez. In the case of the latter, the irony in this challenge is that Rodriguez did in fact enjoy the benefits of a good formal education and did succeed within the context. But in many ways, Rodriguez describes a condition not of being liberated but in fact of being forced to distance himself from his own cultural heritage. Contrary to liberation, if produced a sort of isolation from his family and the life that he had enjoyed prior to his academic enlightenment. Rodriguez notes that Richard Hoggart best articulated his experience, labeling individuals experiencing the world thusly as 'scholarship boys.' According to Rodriguez, he himself would fit into a category that "Hoggart…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

Malcolm X (1965). Learning to Read, exc from the Autobiography of Malcolm X Grove Press.

Rodriquez, R. (1982). The Achievement of Desire, exc from the Hunger of Memory. Bantam.

Cite this Document:

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