Analysis Of `` Saved `` From The Autobiography Of Malcolm X Essay

994 Words Feb 10th, 2015 4 Pages
An analysis of “Saved” from The Autobiography of Malcolm X demonstrates the social barriers that prevent equitable literacy and the value society places on reading and writing. Graff and Duffy’s Literacy Myths explicitly discusses social values and access to literacy. Graff and Duffy argue that literacy myths are grounded in the belief that “literacy is a necessary precursor to and invariably results in economic development, democratic practice, cognitive enhancement and upward social mobility” (41). This viewpoint reflects the idea that literacy is an “independent variable” that is not influenced by other factors (Graff & Duffy 41).
It is vital to consider the circumstances surrounding illiteracy to understand the complex nature of the issue. X’s narrative demonstrates that different communities of people have varying amounts of access to literacy. Until he was in prison, X did not have access to accurate representations of black history, nor did he have the skills required to read the materials (X 33). Social control of literacy dates back to the 1800s in North America. “In some settings, reading and writing instruction was legally withheld, as was the case with slaves in the south USA” (Graff & Duffy 43). Despite the history of literacy and its associated oppression, a common fear associated with literacy is its perceived decline. People advocate for a “back to basics” approach and idealize the former nature of literacy (Graff & Duffy 45). Yet, Malcolm X’s narrative…

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