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The Letter from Birmingham by Martin Luther King Jr - Speech or Presentation Example

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The author of the paper will explore the Letter from Birmingham through which King makes it a point that injustice, in whatever form (even if it is in the guise of being a law), should not be tolerated anywhere, especially in the United States of America…
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The Letter from Birmingham by Martin Luther King Jr
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Download file to see previous pages As the paper outlines, the Letter from Birmingham Jail was a letter composed from his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama addressed to the clergymen who criticized his actions as being too hurried. The theme is all about segregation and a critique of the church as being wrong to maintain the status quo that the blacks and whites be segregated. The letter is very well written and poignant, peppered with a lot of figures of speech. The letter uses a variety of figures of speech to convey emotions that seek to reach out to the reader by eliciting feelings of anger, disgust, sympathy, and empathy. Examples of it are simile personification and alliteration among many other tropes. The first figure of speech that is noted is the simile. The lines “… like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid,” (Third paragraph) compare Martin Luther King to Apostle Paul, and using the word “like” as the fulcrum for comparison, it is a simile. The denotative part of the sentence is Paul the apostle and his helpful deeds in Macedonia while the connotative part is how King is like Paul and the Blacks symbolize Macedonia. As a reader, we see that Martin Luther King always compares himself to figures in the Christian religion, most probably because he was a preacher. The comparison to Paul would make the movement appear to be at the level of that important too, and it is because it is revolutionary too. Because of this comparison too, the readers would feel that the injustice against blacks is too massive, just like Jesus’ movement when Christianity was just starting out. Like Jesus and his apostles, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his group was also a minority and they were always persecuted because of their beliefs. This is parallel to the theme which relates it to the Church who wants to keep the status of blacks in the status quo, like the Romans before. The next figure of speech noted is the personification. The sentence, “We were victims of a broken promise […] with blasted hopes”(seventh and eighth paragraph), is an example of such with the broken promise taking a role of a person, inflicting pain, blasting hopes and disappointing those that have been promised. This statement echoes the disappointment King’s group had because the economic community in Birmingham refused to comply with their negotiations that said to remove all the store signs with racial slurs (the issue of segregation). At this point in the letter, they have been negotiating terms with the white people to get rid of signs which humiliate the blacks. Their hopes were basically blasted because of the pains that segregation caused. This sentence also justifies their acts of civil disobedience, stating that they have been, in fact, victims and they have the right to say that they have been victimized in a negotiation that has not been acted upon correctly. The denotative part of the statement is that the promise is not fulfilled, it is broken; but the connotative part is that the people who made the promise are not honorable enough to make the promise true, thus disappointing the people who have been promised, victimizing them IV. Allusion The third figure of speech is an allusion. In this case, King mentioned Hitler and the status of Jews in the Holocaust with the sentence “It was illegal to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany” (twentieth paragraph). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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