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Letter From Birmingham Jail and use of Parallel Structure an

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Kirtan Patel

on 29 October 2014

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Transcript of Letter From Birmingham Jail and use of Parallel Structure an

Letter From Birmingham Jail and use of Parallel Structure and Anaphora

Kirtan Patel

Parallel Structure and Anaphora
Parallel Structure- repetition of the same pattern of words or phrases within a sentence or passage to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance.

Anaphora- Repetition of the same word or groups of words at the beginnings of successive phrases
Chapter 24
Says- King just wants everyone not just equal but safe.

Does- "I had hoped that the white moderate would understand... the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand... which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality."

Because- By using anaphora King really emphasizes and strengthens the emotional effect. This quote contains both ethos and pathos. King wishes for the white to be considerate and realistic.

Chapter 25
Says- King goes on to say it is not their fault, they are doing nothing wrong it is the whites that are torturing the blacks.

Does- "Isn't this like condemning Socrates.. Isn't this like condemning a robbed man.. Isn't this like condemning Jesus..."

Because- King uses anaphora to emphasize his list of examples, and making it clear, practically calling them illogical for making the statement of blacks are provoking violence from the whites.
Chapter 33
Says- King commends the people that have done right and says he has not over looked those people and is grateful.

Does- "I commend you Reverend Stallings... I commend the catholic leaders..."

Because- King adds a rhythm and emphasizes the emotional effect of how how grateful he is for them helping the solution. Using commend rather then thanks really emphasizes his feelings of gratitude.


Chapter 8
Says- King asks the people is they are able to fulfill their task and not retaliate.

Does- "Are you able to... without retaliating? Are you able to endure the ordeal of Jail."

Because- King tries to really emphasize what they will have to bear in order to accomplish the goal of destroying racism and to see if the members of the group are strong enough.
Chapter 45
Says- King disagrees with them saying if they saw the torture that the blacks had to endure they would not think to thank the police

Does - "I doubt that you would have so warmly commend the police force... I doubt that you would have so quickly commend the policemen..."

Because- King restates "I doubt" at the beginning to show he knows that this is injustice and inhuman that anyone would not think this is okay. Looking at all the pain and misery blacks had to endure from the police really
Chapter 31
Says- King lists all the extremists and explains how he is not the only extremist and that there are many like him.

Does- "Was not Paul an extremist... Was not Martin Luther an extremist... and Abraham Lincoln... and Thomas Jefferson..."

Because- King uses parallel structure to really emphasize the amount of extremist and gives a bit of rhythm in a sense while defining his point that he is doing the right thing but is not the only one to act as such.
Chapter 37
Says- King says what he has noticed by the white churchman and southern religious leaders and the large difference between the two just by their actions towards segregation.

Does-"I have heard numerous southern... but I have longed... I have watched white churchmen... I have watched many churches commit...

Because- King wants to emphasize his point on the different actions by different churches, by doing so he makes some churches look ignorant and racist.
Analytical Conclusion
Martin Luther King Jr. uses parallel structure through out his letter but majority come near the middle where he lists and explains much of his arguments, and answers to the clergymen. Using parallel structure helps to establish balance and flow in staggering sentence; the calibration of related ideas supports readability and clarity for the reader. By using parallel structure adds pathos and ethos. Throughout his letter King uses specific examples of parallel structure, but also broad example throughout his letter. He establishes rhythm emphasizing his argument, if he did not use it the letter would have been mono toned and ineffective. The letter would lose much of its strength and it would have been very boring for the reader.
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