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Commentaire "Letter from birmingham jail" Martin Luther King Jr.

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Par   •  6 Février 2018  •  Commentaire de texte  •  817 Mots (4 Pages)  •  4 489 Vues

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What makes King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" powerful and effective? After reading King's letter, answer the question by analyzing how he uses structure and language purposefully in his text. Provide specific examples from the text to support your analysis.

I The letter of King uses a strategic structure and several language devices like metaphors and rhetorical questions in order to convey the message that the segregation has to be over.

II Martin Luther King, Jr brings his ideas and his arguments with a certain order and in a certain form, to make his point of view more powerful.

A We can see by example that this text is a letter, indeed at the beginning we can read : “My dear Fellow Clergymen” who are the addressees, and at the end of the text there is written : “Martin Luther King, Jr” who is the sender.

B The form of this text: a letter, is very important. It isn't a private letter, because we are able to work on it, it is a letter which isn't made to be read only by the clergymen but also by everybody. It is an open letter. Therefore the sender is actually showing to the people what is happening and he clearly quotes the convicted according to him, the clergymen.

C In the first part of the text, several types of people are quoted : “Negroes”, “Negro leaders”, “your mother and father”, “your brothersand sisters”, “your six-year-old daughter”, all designating the black community. In the second part of the text, there are words like “the white moderate”, the Church”, “Governor Barnett”, “the early Christians” refering to the clergymen above all and also to the privileged.

D The text is divided in two parts, it talks about the victims of segregation until the paragraph number five and then it talks about the person who are the causes of this situation. The writer underlines a lot that the main victims are the negroes, and when he writes about the causes the word “Church” is repeated. While enumerating the victims, the author also underlines the consequences of the segragation on the negroes families.

III By using language devices, the author tries to convince his audience and to make his writing effective.

A The author associates the lexical field of the family with the lexical field of brutalization.

As it is claimed by King “When you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers […] drown your sisters and brothers […] curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters [...]”

B Here we can see that the author wants the reader to have mercy. He wants to create an emotion. He talks about things we all know and love: family and friends. He conveys the message by using the pronoun “you” as if we had to put ourselves at the place of the “negroes”. It seems like he reveals something unknown by the majority.

C We can read many rhetorical questions in the nineth paragraph like “Who worships here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification ?”

D These questions aren't there to have an answer, they are there to claim a problem in the society. A paradox is exposed here, the fact that the Christians who have values aren't doing anything against the segregation, they don't protest.

IV The author also uses comparisons and symbols to help the reader to have a representation of the problem in the same goal: having an effective writing.

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