Reading, to me, is a journey like that of the one that Malcolm X embarked upon within this excerpt of his autobiography. Reading, in my opinion and practical uses within everyday life does not as much pertain to the mechanical and scientific aspect of word processing. I do not look at a word and see a system of patterns, which is awaiting my deciphering. To me, reading is a way to express oneself.
While Malcolm X sat in his prison cell he was overwhelmed with the feeling that he was missing some key, essential part of life. He would read books, skipping the unknown words, and end up with a jigsaw puzzle full of holes that he was left with to call his conclusion of what he had read. I have also felt this way after reading material that was above my reading level. When I was very young I too had decided that the only way that I would be able to make sense of the literary world, or even be taken seriously in it, was to learn as much vocabulary as possible. I decided to push myself to become a better reader, which I knew that while difficult and tedious, in the end, would also make me a better writer.
Malcolm X read to feed a hunger which had subsided with in him to help the Black man, he stated in his autobiography: “You will never catch me with a free fifteen minutes in which I’m not studying something I feel might be able to help the black man.” While I also read to feed a hunger, it was not as immensely driven by a world issue such as Malcolm X’s. My drive came from myself, and my motivation came from my dream of becoming a great lawyer. I knew that there was a substantial connection between reading, writing, and vocabulary. With every page I read I was coming closer to accomplishing my dream of building the foundation of words that I would need to some day be regarded as a great writer and thinker of my time.
In a world where nothing is new, where all the great stories have already been written, and all the great thoughts have already been thought of, there needs to be a rise in the amount of reading that is going on in society. Where education is becoming harder for many to receive, and where new ideas are few and far between, there has to be a determination born within the people to better themselves and create the new ideas of tomorrow, this is what reading is to me.
Reading unlocks the doors to new processes of thought, new paths of creativity, and a way to reawaken America’s sleeping idea processing brain. I read to learn, I read to grow, and I read to become the writer that I know I can become with the help of some motivating literature from times where those few gifted writers were able to create a story that could make the reader feel as if they could accomplish anything mentioned with in the few hundred page confine of the novel.
Malcolm X and I share passion, but a passion which is derived from different quests for justice within our lives. Malcolm X read to learn as much possible in the Black man’s defense, anything that could help further their chances of equality. He read to trace the history of the White man as the devil with in cultures and from his reading found substantial evidence that helped to drive and focus his cause for the rest of his life. I read in order to better myself, and in order to better the world ahead of me. My thirst for knowledge in order to prove to myself that I can be a great thinker and writer is what keeps my dreaming with in ever novel that I embark on, it is what helps me arrive at higher levels of consciousness that will one day be the basis for the great things in life that I will accomplish.