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“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. Essay

What stylistic elements does King use to influence his readers? After reading and analyzing “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” write an essay in which you answer the question and analyze structure and language in his text, providing 3 or more examples to illustrate and clarify your analysis. What conclusion can you draw about the power of this text? 1. Copy and paste the introduction of your essay here. Check your grading feedback from Lesson 8 to see if your instructor suggested any revisions to your introduction. Please make your revisions and type your revised introduction in the space below.

INTRODUCTION: Everyone knows Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the Letter from Birmingham Jail but not everyone knows he wrote it because he was tired of being told to be patient and to wait. He wanted those eight white Alabama men that called him an extremist and whom believed the civil rights campaign would cause violence, to know that he was fed up waiting. King would take a stand and fight alongside his brothers and sisters for their rights. Martin Luther King uses strategic support and imagery to influence his readers and help us understand that all the hardships and judgment the blacks faced matter since he’s trying to make us understand the pain and tiredness of segregation and of waiting for nothing to happen.

Write

2. Using what you have learned about evidence, explanation, quotations, and paraphrase, write your body paragraphs in the space below. You will need to include at least one of each of the following: a direct quotation introduced with a complete sentence and a colon a direct quotation introduced with a signaling phrase and a comma a direct quotation that is introduced and explained in one sentence a paraphrased example an embedded quotation

IMPORTANT ALERT: Use your outline from the previous lesson (Lesson 9 Organize Your Ideas) to form your body paragraphs.

BODY (Minimum of 2 paragraphs – one about the structure of the letter and one about the language of the letter): King uses quotes from other famous people to offer comprehension of the respect those people were given and explaining how those men were also extremists; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .” said by Thomas Jefferson. King uses allusion to talk about how Jefferson mentioned something in his past life of being equal and that our society cannot be divided in half. It goes back to segregation by explaining the people of the world shouldn’t be divided by the color of their skin since according to Jefferson all men were created equal. By stating Jefferson, he makes a point of everybody, including blacks, having the right to share bathrooms, restaurants, and schools. Not one person should suffer the consequences of being different.

Abraham Lincoln said that “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” King also used an allusion of Lincoln’s to point out that the nation would not be able to survive being divided by the color of one’s skin. If the government were going to divide the town’s people, to divide them by the content of their actions, than by their skin color. It would be for example, dividing a forest by its predators, and prey. By placing a fence in between the two sections, neither side would survive. King wants us to understand that being divided is toxic to our nation and we need to mix to be able to feel right in the world, like you belong.

As mentioned, king uses imagery to help us visualize better what he desires for us to understand like when he says “…when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people …” he uses this to help the readers comprehend why they are fed up of being told to wait, and to stand aside patiently.

He mentions how he can see the clouds of inferiority form in her little mind, understanding that they think of the blacks as less of humans. King also describes seeing her unknowingly develop a hatred towards the whites and not knowing that changes her personality. When this happens to his daughter, he wants us to understand that there comes a time when men are exhausted of being in a pool of injustice and having to be told they can’t do anything about the situation. “Like a boil that can never be cured”, King states in the end of paragraph 24 of his letter.

When he says this, he is giving us an image of a disgusting boil, while comparing injustice and racism to it. King is using a simile to make us believe that just like a person or animal is sick, the people back then were sick and the symptoms were injustice and racism. Just like we tend to those unwell, we have to tend to them. King compares the two and simplifies his thoughts when said that they need to be acknowledged and treated. He is hinting that he wishes of injustice and racism to be treated and vanish, but that it won’t happen if not everybody pitches in.

Locate (copy and paste)

3. Within the body paragraphs of your essay, locate and copy and paste the following components. Be sure to include the entire sentence. a. a direct quotation that is introduced with a complete sentence and a colon: King uses quotes from other famous people to offer comprehension of the respect those people were given and explaining how those men were also extremists; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .” b. a direct quotation that is introduced with a signaling phrase and a comma: Abraham Lincoln said that “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” c. a direct quotation that is introduced and explained in one sentence:

As mentioned, King uses imagery to help us visualize better what he desires for us to understand like when he says “…when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people …” he uses this to help the readers comprehend why they are fed up of being told to wait, and to stand aside patiently. d. a paraphrased example:

King also describes seeing her unknowingly develop a hatred towards the whites and not knowing that changes her personality. e. an embedded quotation:  “Like a boil that can never be cured”, King states in the end of paragraph 24 of his letter.


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