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Rhetorical Analysis of “Learning to Read”

Malcom X’s piece, “Learning to Read”, demonstrates a masterful blend of writing techniques that create an emotional response in the reader while defending his points with reasoning and examples. Malcom X explains how he learned to read throughout the piece; however, he also makes a case for his beliefs which he defends with experiences and commonly known examples. This strategy in writing is highly effective especially in this context because he tailors each aspect of the piece to suit the audience while maintaining a professional well educated tone throughout.
The main goal Malcom X had in mind while writing was to enforce and gain strength to his black power movement. Malcom X was not looking for simply equality, instead he wanted to show that non-whites were dominant over whites. Malcom X was not from a well-respected background like that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because of this his words did not carry much weight until he gained a strong following and support from powerful people and groups. By expressing his views in his autobiography, he gains some credibility by showing how perseverant he is before trying to convince people of his radical ideas.
Due to his lack of immediate credibility, Malcom X also focuses heavily on the word of others. By mentioning the sources from where he developed his ideals, people are more prone to agree with him. Naturally people are more open to hear the opinions of a published author than they are to listen to a man who was imprisoned for seven years and was never educated above the 8th grade. Then, by writing intelligently about the works of these more credible authors, Malcom X was able to gain the respect of his own readers.
The title of this piece is slightly misleading. The title draws the attention of the work from being about Malcom X’s opinions to being about his experience learning to read. By doing this the audience is turned away from the strong controversial opinions of the author and their focus goes to…


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