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The Autobiography of Malcolm X

A common assignment on The Autobiography of Malcolm X is as follows.

First and foremost, remember that it is a good idea to use 3 citations from the following book:

The Autobiography of Malcolm X” As Told By Alex HaleyThe Autobiography of Malcolm X


  1. Your title should be a statement of your interpretive question. An example follows.
  2. Interpretative Question: What is the meaning of protest by Malcolm X?
  3. A header in this format will begin your paper.

Introductory Paragraph for The Autobiography of Malcolm X Research Paper:

  1. Incorporate your question into the paragraph — it should flow naturally from your opening sentences. Your introductory paragraph should include your thesis statement, your stand on the question you pose. The statement should state explicitly, “I believe…, I assert…” or should clearly impart to the reader that this is the stand you will take.

Body Paragraphs:

  1. Please remember the three tenets of body paragraphs: unity, coherence and development. Unity can be achieved by including a very specific The Autobiography of Malcolm X sentence and by making sure that everything in the paragraph belongs with that The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Coherence means that it all hangs together. This is achieved by using transitions and by organizing the ideas in a paragraph in a logical manner, so that each idea follows from the last. Development is the product of using sufficient examples (especially evidence from the text), analysis and explanation.

Conclusion for The Autobiography of Malcolm X Research Paper:

  1. The conclusion is the place to tie together the threads of the argument and usually involves some rephrasing of the thesis and summing up the points made. It is important not to introduce new ideas here which will need development. Also do not make qualitative statements that will diminish your authority.

Points to keep in mind:

  1. Remember, you have only a few words to present your point of view when you are doing a book review. Make sure that evaluation does not impede the completion of interpretation. Get quickly to your own points.
  2. Your essay should be based on one interpretative question.
  3. Your response to that question needs to be based on the text. To do this, you will need textual references to prove your point. Do not, however, use quotations of more than three lines at any given point in the essay. Also document your textual references, both direct and indirect, with page numbers so that I can clearly follow your point of view

Interpretative Emphasis:

  1. Maintain the interpretative mode.
  2. Be sure to use the text to support what you have to say, but no more than 10% of the text should be taken up by quotations — so paraphrase, and use only the important part of the quote.
  3. Be sure you are discussing the same kind of theme/thing in each text.
  4. Let “unity, coherence and development” be your guidelines!

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