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Free Study Guide-The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X-Free Notes
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

The protagonist of the book is Malcolm X. He is narrating the story of his life to Alex Haley, with whose help the autobiography is written. Malcolm X is already a prominent Minister in the Nation of Islam when he meets Alex Haley and agrees to write about his life. The entire book is a collection of his memories as narrated to Haley.

Antagonist

There is no one particular individual who can be called the antagonist in the book. The book depicts Malcolm's struggle with the society he is living in. Therefore the antagonist in the book is not an individual but an entire system and society which is unjust and racist.

Climax

Since the book is a collection of recollections from the Black leader Malcolm X's past, there is no one particular incident or situation which can be defined as the climax. The turning point in author's life is perhaps when he decides to drop out of school in Lansing and visit his sister Ella in Boston. Another crucial point in his life is when he is arrested for burglary and is given a 15 year prison sentence. This is when he feels the need to re-educate himself and is becomes deeply influenced by Elijah Muhammad's teachings. Another important part in the book is when Malcolm breaks away from the Nation of Islam.


Outcome

The book ends rather abruptly in the chapter called 1965. This is the year when Malcolm was brutally assassinated during a meeting. The last chapter refers to the time when Malcolm returns from a second trip to Africa and the Middle East and announces the formation of his new organization called the Organization of Afro-American Unity (O.A.A.U). During this period his personal life is in turmoil due to constant threats to his life. Moreover, the house he and his family had been living in, is claimed back by the Nation of Islam. This leads to an ugly court battle. Malcolm is quite aware that he might not live to complete his autobiography and he tells Haley that:

'I know that societies often have killed the people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America - then, all the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine'.

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Free Study Guide-The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X-Free Notes
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