No Education - No Excuse

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James Marsh Professor Whitworth RWS 280 December 7, 2011 No Education – No Excuse It is sometimes not uncommon for Americans to provide excuses and blame the “system” as to why they are disadvantaged or lack access to a good education. Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is an inspirational example that attaining a good education is possible for most people, regardless of their circumstances. In an excerpt from his autobiography, Malcom X chronicles his difficult and unconventional path to that good education while he was an inmate at Norfolk Prison Colony. Although Malcolm X was a controversial figure in American history, he had undoubtedly become an eloquent spokesman and advocate for human rights. This essay will analyze the effectiveness of Malcolm X’s assertion that the pursuit of a good education is obtainable by anyone who is passionate about learning and is willing to use whatever resources are available to that end. It will first explore various strategies employed by Malcolm X to determine how they strengthen his argument and their overall effect on his audience, which it might be fair to say, is mostly African American. Secondly, it will analyze some fallacies within the author’s excerpt and the goal here is to determine how they might weaken the author’s claims. Finally, this discussion will focus on the validity and overall effectiveness of the author’s persuasion of his audience. Malcolm X’s audience is primarily of African American decent and his main argument is that hard work, dedication, and taking initiative in acquiring a good education is possible for almost anyone, regardless of perceived or actual obstacles. He emphasizes that it will open a whole new world of insight and possibilities. “My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness, and

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