The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Symbols of Malcolm X's Life College
Creating symbolism in literature adds depth and meaning to any story. Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X displays an abundance of symbols that offer insight into the life of Malcolm X himself. Often, the symbols that Haley uses demonstrate the adjustments that Malcolm X went through during his development: they show his metamorphosis from a person whom the world viewed as unimportant, to the controversial, but influential civil rights leader. Haley first demonstrates how important, yet dangerous, status in a society can be for a minority. The author then explores how the simple hair straightening process called “conk” tied Malcolm X to the Caucasian world. Finally, Haley points out the significance of eyeglasses, watches, and suitcases and how they played a pivotal role in Malcolm X’s life.
Symbolism in literature allows the reader an insightful perspective into a character’s life. The symbolism in Haley’s autobiography provides a look directly into how specific items in Malcom X’s life shaped him as a man, and brought him through the transformations that made him into the powerful advocate of black rights that he became. As a child, Malcolm did not have a lot of material possessions and often felt disconnected from...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8028 literature essays, 2253 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in