Malclom X Essay, Research Paper
Ming Sen Zhang
ENG 2100 0328
The essays ?Learning to See? by Samuel Scudder and ?Learning to Read? by Malcolm X, both described transformational experiences. There are several similarities and differences between Malcolm X and Scudder?s transformational experiences.
Both transformation essays involved changes in the characters? attitudes. In ?Learning to See,? Scudder hated the odor from his specimen (a haemulon in a yellow alcohol-filled jar). But toward the end of his research on the specimen, what was once an odor ?had become a pleasant perfume.? And in ?Learning to see,? Malcolm X first viewed reading to be something impossible, as if he were reading words ?in Chinese.? But as soon as he learned more words, he found reading to be the joy of his life, spending countless hours on reading and fully understanding the material.
The use of tools was a major aid in helping Malcolm X and Scudder through the problems they encounter in their transformation process. To further improve Scudder?s observation of the haemulon, he used a pencil to draw out the details of the fish. Malcolm X also used a pencil to copy the vocabulary from the dictionary to improve his handwriting, which also improved his vocabulary.
While acquiring new skills, both Scudder and Malcolm X were laying a foundation for their future studies. As stated by Scudder, ?what I had gained by this outside experience has been of greater value than years of later investigation.? With Malcolm X it is obvious that his future was built on the vocabulary he learned; otherwise it would have been difficult for him to read and gain knowledge for his later speeches.
Malcolm X?s transformational experience occurred without the help of other people, while Scudder received aid. Malcolm X went through his transformation all by himself with no outside influences. He was alone all the time reading by himself, like a hermit. Although Scudder did his observation alone, Professor Agassiz, who gave him advice and comment, often visited him.
How Malcolm X and Scudder started their transformation is very different. Malcolm X started reading and copying of his own free will; he desired to gain more knowledge and improve his handwriting. Scudder was directed into studying the haemulon instead of his original field (his intended study was entomology, which is about insects).
There was a difference in motivation between Malcolm X and Scudder. What made Malcolm want to learn more was his envy of Bimbi?s knowledge. Malcolm X wanted to be a great speaker like Bimbi. Malcolm X would have given up on reading if it weren?t for his admiration of Bimbi?s knowledge. Scudder, on the other hand, continued his observation because of Professor Agassiz?s encouragement. Scudder would have stopped his observation if the professor hadn?t encouraged him to look at the fish more.
No transformation is exactly alike despite the similarities that they often have. ?Learning to See? and ?Learning to Read? showed some of the similarities and differences in transformational experiences.