Letter From Birmingham Jail, An Analysis

825 words - 3 pages

Compelling, unfaltering and powerful are the three best words to describe Letter from Birmingham Jail. Martin Luther King Jr's intelligence is only exceeded by his amazing ability to illustrate the cruel and unsympathetic behavior towards colored people. Throughout the entire letter to the eight clergymen he never gets too far from the fight for equality in Birmingham. His incredible metaphors truly show his strong nature. His uses of elements such as allusion, rhetorical questions and juxtaposition all tied in with an element of hope to create a gripping argument for equality. Not just equality in Birmingham, but equality everywhere in the entire world.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." When King says this he brings all people together and unites them. All people in America are in the same situation of having to deal with social injustices. Throughout the entire letter, King does not falter when he affirms their better selves. This also shows his confidence in himself. His uses of rhetorical devices in the end of paragraph six show the hardships and the training that his people must go through and what they must endure to try to gain equality against the odds. He makes it seems as if this letter is the last straw and he tells the clergymen that he has delayed time and time again, however the injustice being done is becoming overwhelming.

Later in the letter King alludes to Socrates. He is clever in doing this because he knows that the clergymen will be exceptionally hesitant to disagree with Socrates. He agrees with Socrates' idea on tension being good and necessary for change. The tension will create men who will rise to the occasion and fight for what they believe in. He further illustrates and tries to make the clergymen how important the fight for equality really is. He takes it away from Birmingham and puts everything on an international scale by juxtaposing America with other continents in paragraph eleven. "The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter." In the paragraph that follows he reveals to outsiders what real life is like as a colored person living in a white world.

If unjust laws are broken openly and intentionally and are done willing to accept...

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