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Free Study Guide-The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X-Free Notes
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Chapters 12 & 13

Notes

The three things namely a suitcase, spectacles, and a wristwatch that Malcolm buys as soon as he leaves the prison are significant. They are important because from the moment he takes on responsibility in the Nation, he traveled throughout the country and later abroad. He hardly had any time for himself. There were times when he was at home for barely few hours only to travel again either to address a gathering or for some organizational work. Therefore, the wristwatch, the suitcase, and his glasses became an integral part of his life.

A committed member of an organization always thinks about how his or her organization can grow. Often they are the ones who are critical about the functioning of their organization. This is not because they hate the organization's weaknesses, but because they love the organization and want the best for it. Mr. Elijah Muhammad too saw the same zeal and commitment in Malcolm X, when he first met him at the Detroit Temple. Malcolm wanted to recruit new members into the Temple. Elijah gave him the responsibility of getting new recruits. This was just the beginning. From a fresh new member, he rose to become a minister in the Nation. His organizational skills were used to set up new temples in and around New York.


The sudden proposal and subsequent marriage with Betty reveals Malcolm's awkwardness in handling personal relationships. Although his initial inhibitions in revealing his feelings to Betty are understandable, his generalization that all women know much more than they reveal is not justified. Maybe it was a woman's instincts that made Betty realize that Minister Malcolm X liked her. Perhaps she too liked him. Therefore, when he proposes to her over the phone, she is not at all surprised.

Malcolm deep affection for Mr. Elijah Muhammad is obvious when he is narrating the leader's past. This feeling of affection and adoration is revealed time and again in the book. This feeling can be understood in the light of the fact that it was Elijah who guided him while he was in the prison. It was he who helped him break away from his evil past and start afresh. It was Elijah who gave him strength, whenever Malcolm was confused. Through their letters and later, as Malcolm met him regularly, Malcolm began looking up to him as he would to his father. That is why Malcolm says that he had more faith in Elijah than he had in himself.

The incident described at the end of chapter 14 reveals the discipline of the Nation of Islam members. It also reveals that the collective strength of the blacks can help them get justice in the courts, which would have otherwise ignored them.

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