“I was so fascinated that I went on–I copied the dictionary’s next page. And the same experience came when I studied that. With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history. Actually the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia. Finally the dictionary’s A section had filled a whole tablet–and I went on into the B’s. That was the way I started copying what eventually became the entire dictionary. It went a lot faster after so much practice helped me to pick up handwriting speed. Between what I wrote in my tablet, and writing letters, during the rest of my time in prison I would guess I wrote a million words.”
Malcolm’s fascination and determination to learn how to write pushed him to cope every word in the dictionary that he had. He spent his days writing the word and its meaning from the dictionary so he could expand his mind and vocabulary. Malcolm also started to pick up on his handwriting speed, which also helped him in his handwriting skills. While writing, he was trying to remember each word so he could use it for himself. Malcolm spent saw much time writing in his tablet and letters he was trying to guess how many words he had written.
“I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. I certainly wasn’t seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness, and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America.”
Malcolm realized that when he first started to read, it opened a door for him that he did not know existed. Malcolm did not realize that he had awoken something that helped him become smarter. He had seen that prison forever changed him in a way that inspired him to do more with his life. He wanted to continue expanding his mind, but he did not want to go to college to learn; Malcolm saw college as a status symbol and nothing more than that. As Malcolm continued to read, he started to become more aware and more sensitive to what was happening within the community that he was part of and did not like it.