Figurative Language In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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In King’s letter, he states, “We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Funny thing is he had lots of time to think about and write this letter. He wanted this letter to encourage and bring up a people that will start a revolution. He needed something, that special something, that would ignite the fire that had somehow died out. His Letter from Birmingham Jail was the match. King uses tone, literal and figurative language to establish structure and language in his letter.
King’s use of tone in his letter was a great way to lay out the foundation of his letter and add structure.

In paragraph 2 and 3, King explains in the “hard, brutal and unbelievable facts” of the actions taken toward blacks
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King says “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” The literal language in that sentence is “Now is the time”. That means that now is the time to take action. The figurative language is “from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” This doesn’t mean everyone’s drowning in quicksand. King means that racial injustice is bringing everyone involved down. He wants thinks to change and to pull ourselves up onto “the solid rock of human dignity.”

Another example is when King says, “Like a boil that can’t be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be exposed for healing, racial injustice must also be exposed.” The literal language is the exposure. He wants to expose racial injustice as the monster it really is. He wants to bring awareness to it, so that we can take it down. The figurative language “Like a boil that can’t be cured as long as it is covered up” is referring to racial injustice. King decided it was covered up long enough and must be exposed in order to fix the situation.

From the examples we can see that King understood the fact that structure and language matter, especially with so great a cause as his. Structure gives your writings a base to stand on, and language is basically the four walls of the house. Just try it! Use good structure and language in your essays and at home and your teacher can’t help
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