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Martin Luther King Speech

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Submitted By taylorfloyd100
Words 713
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Taylor Floyd
Beatty
English III
9/8/13
“Letter from Birmingham City Jail: Analysis”
On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter known as the “Letter from Birmingham City Jail.” The letter, as well as his jailing, was a result of white clergy who disagreed with non-violent protesting to end racial segregation between the everyday African American and white American. In this letter, King launches the reader into a journey of emotions by introducing a different point of view to the eight clergy authors of “A Call to Unity.” Through use of selective diction to exhibit powerful imagery, King highlights why he felt so strongly towards the situation at hand.
King displays an agonizing and heart shredding scene when he writes "when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your brothers and sisters at whim" (King 124-126). The reader's mind quickly absorbs the sorrowful diction "vicious mobs," "lynch," and "drown" to create an image equivalent to one from a scene of a horror story where colored men and women of all ages are hung and drowned against their will for, simply, being colored. While white men and their families lived in a blossoming world of fantasy where they reigned superior, day to day, a colored family was terrorized in a nightmare. Painful and traumatizing, this incident was only a snapshot of the dreadful film each of them suffered through. King portrays an astounding visual image in an abstract point of view when he clicks the reader's mind to one of a young colored female. When King writes, "ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky," the reader suddenly grasps cognizance of the words "ominous clouds," "inferiority," "little," and "mental sky" to form the heart aching image of a "little" child's mind open and ready to be filled with magic and wonder only to be consumed by the low, degrading, and "inferior" thoughts that should not be filling her mind so young (King 133-134). King implies that, from a young age, colored children are being punished by being taught that they are only worthless trash on the sidewalk because those thoughts are exactly what begins to fill their minds at a very young age. They are forced to come to grips with reality at a stage where they are not quite ready and reality is not golden.
When King writes "you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can not go to the public amusement park... As tears well up in her eyes," he transports the reader into that exact situation where the words "tongue twisted" and "stammering" accentuate how difficult it would be to explain such a situation to a six year old (King 129-135). The statement "tears well up in her eyes" amplifies the dejection felt by this six year old as she slowly gains realization of her predicament being that she is not able to go because the park is only open to white families (King 129-135). When the reader is placed in this situation, they gain insight from the perspective of, both, the father and the daughter to feel the discouragement of the daughter; as well as, the humility and the feeling of weakness of the father. By the end of King's letter, the reader is able to feel the agony, rejection, and humiliation felt by blacks every second through King's revealing of multiple incidences that colored people experienced during their suffering wait for justice. Due to King's selective use of diction, he was able to create a series of heart throbbing images to aid the reader into feeling his words more strongly due to the imagery his words manifested inside the mind of the reader. This is what made his letter strong and compelling. The clergymen knew about segregation, but they did not know how the extremes of segregation impacted many African American lives in a negative manner. King exceeded at taking the clergymen through a convincing journey of the average life of every African American by revealing the horrifying truth of persistent persecution that they were forced to push themselves through each day.…...

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