The passage was taken from Malcolm X's autobiography. In the very short passage it shows his amazing ability to learn. He knew English and had no real physical disabilities yet he longed for more. His street language was not good enough for him. He did not know how to talk to people other than his peers of thieves and drug dealers. It was his quest for knowledge about Islam religion that provoked his self-teachings. He would write to Elijah Muhammad with his questions but could never find the right way to say it. While in jail he started to read and write the dictionary. This was an extreme task for anybody who already knows the English language in and out, and yet he did it with a very small initial understanding. He said aloud and wrote every word in the English dictionary until finally he was considered part of the educated elite.
It is strange what the human mind can do with time and perseverance. I am positive he did not retain all the knowledge from those readings. No man could. Still, it is a wonder how much he learned. He was not forced to go to school and learn. He wanted to learn because he knew the benefits for himself.
It is strange when I read about him reading and writing the dictionary because during my middle school years I started to read one before bed every night. For me it was interesting but most of all it helped me to sleep at night. I enjoyed learning new words for the night. I say "for the night"ÃÂ, because that is horrible time to try to commit something to memory. I would hardly retain any of the words I had read but I continued to do it anyway.