An american is defined by their struggles. Everyone you have ever met has experienced some form of struggle in their life and how they choose to respond fundamentally changes a person, for the better or the worse. According to writer Jessica Ann, “Everyone who has ever accomplished anything great has struggled” (Ann 1). Some people’s struggles may have affected them early on, Malcolm X is a prime example. For him it started at when his, “mother was pregnant with [him], she told me later, a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home in Omaha, Nebraska, one night. Surrounding the house, brandishing their shotguns and rifles, they shouted for my father to come out. My mother went to the front door and opened it. Standing where they could see her pregnant condition, she told them that she was alone with her three small children, and that my father was away, preaching, in Milwaukee. The Klansman shouted threats and warnings at her” (Haley 21). This accompanied with other childhood memories caused X to see the world in a different lens, one filled with violence, racism, and pessimism. X’s future experiences continue to reinforce this worldview, for example, when X lost his father. “My mother was taken by the police to the hospital, and to a room where a sheet was over my father in a bed, and she wouldn’t look, she was afraid to look. Probably it was wise that she didn’t. My father’s skull, on one side, was crushed in, I was told later. Negroes in Lansing have always whispered that he was attacked, and then laid across some tracks for a streetcar to run over him. His body was cut almost in half” (Haley 28). This is experience most definitely reinforced his views as according to X the Black Legion had killed his father. X’s anger and frustration caused him to realize that life would never be easy for him  and if he wanted to succeed then he had to work hard. X “caught the Greyhound bus for Boston with my cardboard suitcase, and wearing my green suit. If someone had hung a sign, “HICK,” round my neck, I couldn’t have looked much more obvious. They didn’t have the turnpikes then; he bus stopped at what seemed every comer and cowpatch” (Haley 49). X got multiple jobs and worked as hard as he could but things went downhill fast. After being convicted with multiple burglary charges X went to prison for several months. This was most likely X’s most important life experience as prison gave X to reflect on his decisions and his plan for the future. X devoured every book he found and study as much as he could. While reading he came across a preacher called Elijah Muhammed who preached that people of color must rise up and fight their oppressors. This gave X a mission which made him a prominent member of the Civil Rights Movement. The way X fought through his struggles and responded with positivity is what defines him as an american. America as a whole has struggled as well. During the civil war america was split in half with both sides having ideas completely opposite from the other. But after thousands of lives the war ended and america reconstructed itself which led to the abolition of slavery. Being defined by struggles also extends to american businesses, according to Political Analyst Michael Barone, “Most new businesses fail. Most predictions are wrong” (Barone 1). But even so america still has the highest GDP in the world. In the end being american means being able to embrace and learn from your struggles to become a better person.


Haley, Alex.The Autobiography of Malcolm X . New York: Grove Press, 1965. PDF.


“Civil War Reconstruction.” HistoryNet,


Barone, Michael, and Michael Guttman. “Americans Learn to Succeed by Learning from Failure.” Washington Examiner, 5 Feb. 2014,



CC BY-SA 4.0 Struggles by Chandan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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