Analysis Of A Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr.

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During the civil rights movement many influential people became prominent figureheads for equal rights and are now studied in schools across the nation. These leaders risked their lives for their cause in the fight for freedom and equality and are now regarded as some of the most influential people of their time. Among these heroes is Martin Luther King Junior, a non-violent activist for black rights. Today King is a well known hero, studied in many schools both historically and literary. He is probably as well known as a civil rights activist as much as he is known as the author of A Letter from Birmingham Jail, a letter written to inform and persuade others of the importance of civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr.’s application of literary …show more content…

King uses metaphors throughout his letter to support his various themes and messages. He also uses this technique when he is talking about how the white moderate blocked social progress. “I had hoped the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” (King 8) Here he is saying that he is disappointed that the white moderate has blockaded the social movement for equality. It also connects to the sense of waiting because of the use of the metaphor. When a dam is blocked for a long period of time, the pressure builds until it is finally released and then there is no stopping it, just like the civil rights movement. King uses a metaphor to highlight his message of urgency again later in the passage. “Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” (King 9) The use of repetition signifies that the movement must happen now, now is the time. The metaphor “quicksand… solid rock” says that the nation must escape this social unrest of inequality now, when we have the chance to solidity equality or risk suffocating in the quicksand of such racial prejudice. By using metaphors that connect the social movement to a blockade and the deadly sinking of quicksand, King accentuates the dire need for attention that racial equality is calling for. Because of the previous delays of attention, the racial inequality must be addressed now or the nation will rot with such social

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