Look at the structure of the novel. 1) Discuss elements of the narrative structure: exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical and linear story? How does the story's structure express the book's ideas? 2) Examine the way both Malcolm and Alex Haley use the other people in the story to express Malcolm's ideas.
Look at the structure of the novel.
1) Discuss elements of the narrative structure: exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical and linear story? How does the story's structure express the book's ideas?
2) Examine the way both Malcolm and Alex Haley use the other people in the story to express Malcolm's ideas.
Discuss whether you think this statement is true or false: "Malcolm X uses the autobiography to market his image rather than his ideas." Use two examples from the book to support your argument.
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Comparing Civil Rights Leaders
Encourage students to research Martin Luther King and compare his life with the life of Malcolm X. What were King's religious beliefs? What were the influences on his inner and outer life? What were his views on violence, leadership, and African American civil rights? Have students use the details they have gathered to compare the lives of both men. How were they similar? Different? What are their legacies? Visit the following Web sites to find out more about Martin Luther King Jr.:
The Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project
Search for Martin Luther King Jr. at Biography.com
Photos of Martin Luther King Jr. from Life Magazine
Classic Quotes Time Line
Have students work together to create a time line on the class bulletin board. Explain that they will choose classic quotes by Malcolm X that illustrate important moments in his life. Each student should copy one favorite quote from his or her handout onto an index card (one per card). Then have students share their quotes and place them on the time line bulletin board.
Malcolm X Multimedia Presentation
Challenge students to put The Autobiography of Malcolm X in historical context by creating a multimedia presentation. Their presentation should use images, sounds, and even videos to show race relations in America from the 1930s to the end of the 1960s. Encourage students to also include cultural details such as popular music, sports heroes, celebrities, and movie stars.
Muslim versus Nation of Islam
If possible, have students view the documentary that is discussed in the autobiography, The Hate That Hate Produced. Afterward, have students research the present-day status of the Nation of Islam. Then have them write and illustrate a pamphlet that explains the difference between the Nation of Islam and the orthodox Muslim belief system.