We often gain knowledge through our experiences. These experiences help us improve our skills. These experiences open our eyes to new ideas and perspectives. Malcolm X said, "No university would ask any student to devour literature as I did w hen this new world opened to me, of being able to read and understand" (Haley 173). In the same way, Simon Forrest learned to open his eyes when he was learning his craft as a woodworker in college.
During his time in jail, Malcolm X learned to read, write, and comprehend words. He got a hold of a dictionary and tackled it page by page, word for word. He began by copying and reading the words on the first page. Page by page, he was able to improve his penmanship and vocabulary. He goes on to say, "I suppose it was inevitable that as my word-base broadened, I could for the first time pick up a book and read and now begin to understand what the book was saying. Anyone who has read a great deal can imagine the new world that opened" (Haley 172). Similarly, in The ghost of the birds: a lesson in sharpness, Forrest knew that something was not quite right about his methods of working as he began to observe Kiyo. "My feeling that something was not quite right in my methods of working lay in the form of shavings around Kiyo's bench. To be able to create such shavings requires a level of sharpness that surpasses even the finest of razors" (Forrest 118). He then addresses his process of learning at sharpening his blade a certain way and how to angle the blade in a certain manner following Kiyo. Both essays describe a step by step process, describing in detail how each of the writers learned and gained knowledge. Both Simon Forrest and Malcolm X were able to improve their skills through learning and effort. Both writers also address their experiences in a clear chronological order of exactly how each method and technique was acquired. It started as how they first lacked the knowledge and then through either...
Cited: Forrest, Simon. "The ghosts of the birds: a lesson in sharpness." Fine Woodworking.
February 1999: 118.
Haley, Alex and Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
New York: Grove Press, 1964
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