What would be an effective synopsis of "Homeboy" from The Autobiography of Malcoln X.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Undoubtedly, one of the strongest elements of The Autobiography of Malcolm X is how it reflects what it means to be Black in America.  in this, the work operates as a form of social history.  Certainly, "Homeboy" is a great study in this realm.  Essentially, this chapter addresses how there is pain and suffering in both the conditions of the rural person of color, seen in Malcolm's experiences in the previous chapters,  and the urban person of color, seen in this one.

Malcolm is immersed in the urban setting.  This is one that is synonymous with superficiality, the life of ongoing partying, drugs, gambling, and promiscuity in sex.  In this chapter, the hedonistic urban setting is shown to have debilitating impacts on people of color.  "Homeboy" shows how such a false construction of power actually contributes to individuals having little chance of success in the future.  On one hand, Malcolm feels happy about being in a setting that is predominantly Black in his life in Roxbury.  Yet, in recollection he understands that this stress this community placed in the superficial pursuits of happiness were self- destructive.  The chapter details how such self- indulgent pursuits cannot lead to anything significant or substantial.  Instead, he recognizes that the urban life for those who are of color is filled with a desire to be something or someone else, as seen in "zoot suits" and "conking" hair, and dominated with pursuits that are not lasting and do not possess a sense of permanence in being.