The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by Malcolm X, Alex Haley

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Chapter 8 Summary: Trapped and Chapter 9 Summary: Caught

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Last Updated on May 18, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 212

Malcolm returns to Boston after being threatened with death by West Indian Archie, who mistakenly believes Malcolm has stolen from him. He stays with his close friend, Shorty, and continues his dangerous habits of drug abuse and gambling. Ella is appalled by Malcolm's immoral actions. Shorty starts dating the 17-year-old sister of Sophia, whose name is never revealed in the autobiography.

Together with Shorty, Sophia, her sister, and Rudy, Malcolm forms a burglary group. The women scout affluent white neighborhoods, while Malcolm and Shorty break into houses and Rudy serves as their getaway driver. They sell the stolen goods to a fence, and their operation goes on successfully for almost a year.

One day, Malcolm takes a stolen watch to a jewelry store for repair intending to keep the pricey item for himself. He is unaware that local jewelers are vigilant for stolen goods. Malcolm gets arrested, and so do Shorty and the two women. Rudy, however, manages to evade capture.

The prejudiced social workers and the court-appointed attorney in their case view Malcolm and Shorty's actions as extremely serious. The robbery itself is considered less important than the fact that they "took the white man's woman." As Malcolm explains, the focus is solely on this aspect, rather than the robberies themselves.

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