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Andy Campbell Mrs.

Nogarr AP English 3, Period 6 August 23rd, 2013 Title: Letter from Birmingham Jail Author: Martin Luther King Jr. Discussed: August 23rd, 2013

Polysyndeton: “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; 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 amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards whites… then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait” (937-938).

Chiasmus: “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be” (942).

In 1963, Martin Luther King Junior was arrested for participation in Civil Rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama. While in solitary confinement, he wrote this letter in response to a group of clergyman’s statement that criticized King for disturbing the public. King, utilizing numerous rhetorical devices, provides a convincing and passionate counterargument to this claim. One of King’s most passionate counter-arguments explains why the protesters

and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness towards whites… then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait”(937-938). Polysyndeton. reacting to a statement that labels him an “extremist” argues that it is not a bad thing to be passionate about something. It creates a clear distinction in order to emphasize the difference. when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse. King. serves to overwhelm the reader with detail to connect him or her to the experience. King is an . This use of repeated vivid language evokes passion in the hearts of the reader. 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 amusement park that has just been advertised on television. This statement emphasizes the reversal in meaning to highlight the contrast. “So the question is not whether we will be extremists. This is evident in. imagery-rich situations one after another. kick. and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky. This overwhelmingly intricate sentence. contains 315 words. He produces an atmosphere of overwhelmingly sadness and tension that stems from the mistreatment he describes. but what kind of extremists we will be” (942). He paints the full picture of abuse aimed at African Americans to drag out the raw emotion and allow readers to feel the strength of his loaded imagery. the use of many conjunctions to slow the reader. and Jefferson was an extremist of freedom and liberty. It helps the reader visualize the extent to which segregation is hurting people from King’s standpoint. and even kill your black brothers and sisters. a grammatical structuring in which the first clause is reversed in the second.cannot wait: “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim. King also employs a device called chiasmus. of which only an excerpt is quoted above. He mentions that just as Jesus was an extremist of love and kindness. He adds depth by presenting the emotionally-charged.

If unjust laws go unchallenged.” King proposes this question to engage the reader and justify his reasoning behind it to increase his credibility. King argues that just as one if legally and morally obligated to follow just laws. no matter the consequences. Regarding justice. a society cannot adapt to changes and maintain order. one is also obligated to disobey unjust laws. King forces his readers to rethink their claim and see the truth in his claim. .extremist of racial equality and justice. King addresses a concern many might have: “One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact there are two types of laws: just and un just.