Last Updated on March 22, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 278
At 13 years old, Malcolm gets kicked out of his Lansing, Michigan school due to his unruly conduct. Consequently, he is placed in a juvenile facility in the nearby city of Mason. The Swerlins, who take a liking to Malcolm, provide him with a supportive environment. Mrs. Swerlin secures an after-school job for him at a nearby eatery. In the predominantly white junior high school he attends, Malcolm excels academically and engages in various extracurricular activities. His likability among his peers leads to him being chosen as class president.
Malcolm's half-sister, Ella, who hails from Boston and is a prominent figure in the city's African American community, pays a visit to the Little family. She extends an invitation to Malcolm to come to Boston in the summer of 1940. Upon his arrival in Boston, the 15-year-old Malcolm is astounded by the vibrant Roxbury neighborhood, home to a thriving black community where Ella and her spouse reside.
When Malcolm returns to Mason, he starts feeling more and more discontent and agitated, longing for the deep connection he had in Roxbury. Others start to observe a shift in his demeanor. A discussion with Mr. Ostrowski only serves to intensify his growing disillusionment with life in Mason.
Malcolm told Ostrowski during the talk that he wanted to become a lawyer. Even though Malcolm did well in school, Ostrowski told him not to become a lawyer. Instead, Ostrowski told Malcolm he should become a carpenter. Malcolm writes Ella a letter telling her that he would like to move to Boston and live with her. At the end of the chapter, Malcolm is officially given to Ella as her son, and he moves to Boston.