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Language and Literacy - Malcolm X, GloriaAnzaldúa, and Barbara Mellix

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  1. Introduction
  2. Language and Literacy
  3. Malcolm X, GloriaAnzaldúa, and Barbara Mellix
  4. Analysis
  5. Conclusion

Malcolm X, GloriaAnzaldúa, and Barbara Mellix in their writings express their understanding of the significance and power of language. They explain how language facilitates and strengthens an individual's identity and helps one view himself or herself in a new way. In her essay, Gloria describes how Latinas and Latinos accused her of mutilating Spanish when she spoke Chicano Spanish. She felt that, speaking in English or Spanish, she could not connect to her true identity. However, speaking in Chicano Spanish, ?a language that was neither English or Spanish, but both, she was able to connect to her true identity, and communicating values and realities true to themselves?(Anzaldúa 10). Mellix, on the other hand, explains how it felt uncomfortable writing in Standard English arguing that she could not express her true self. She claims that after ?reading, practicing, writing, rewriting, and experimenting,? she learned that ?one can, through writing, bring out new lives, each with new complexities, possibilities and difficulties. Remarkably, I continually write and give birth to myself? (Mellix 111). Mellix found out that she was able to reinvent herself through writing. Coincidentally, Malcolm X also had a similar experience while in prison. Through reading and enhancing his knowledge in Standard English, he saw his situation and himself differently.

? I had increasingly become frustrated because of being unable to express my thoughts in the letters I wrote to a public figure? (Malcolm 99). While Malcolm learned and became comfortable using Standard English through copying out of the dictionary and reading, Barbara Mellix learned and became comfortable with Standard English through revising and writing. It is certain that all these authors, Malcolm, Mellix and Gloria, viewed themselves differently and got an identity as a result of language. Learning to use Standard language enabled Mellix and Malcolm discover new possibilities.

[...] Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. The Blair Reader: Exploring Contemporary Issues. 6th ed. London: Pearson Prentice Hall Print. Kozol, Jonathan. Human Cost of an Illiterate Society.? Illiterate America. Anchor Press/Doubleday 310?15. Print. Madera, Susan. Voice.? Across Cultures: a Reader for Writers. 8th ed. Ed. Sheena Gillespie & Robert J. [...]


[...] Susan Madera, Gloria Anzaldúa and Barbara Mellix in their writing discuss their use of multiple languages and how they faced discomfort and conflict as a result of their preferred languages. Mellix describes the conflict between the Black English, the language she was taught at home, and Standard English, the language she was taught in school and was expected to use for communicating with others. She explains how she felt uncomfortable using standard English. She explains how she considered Black English and Standard English as two distinct languages and how she learned when, where and how to use them. [...]

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