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Analysis Of “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” By Martin Luther King

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In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” King wrote, “ smothering in an airtight cage of poverty…”. This is one example of how King uses metaphor to compare “smothering in an airtight cage of poverty” to the poverty of what African-Americans had to face.

In his letter, King uses metaphor to get the reader to envision the pain African-Americans encountered. When King wrote, “living constantly at tiptoe stance,” he was speaking up about how colored people didn’t have an idea of what was going to happen next. It supports Kings point because he’s speaking up about how colored people felt. The intended effect it has on the reader is to show them how intimidated colored people were, they always had to question themselves because they felt nothing was ever going to change. This quote reminds of my life because I’m always approaching life slowly and hesitantly because I don’t want to make any mistakes.

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Another way, King uses metaphor is when describing how racism reached his child, and he had to “see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky” when he had to tell her that “Funtown is closed to colored children.” This example supports Kings point because he’s been trying to reach people with his words but unfortunately he wasn’t able to because his struggle became his child’s struggle. The intended effect it had on the reader is to get them to sympathize with his struggle of having to tell his daughter that she couldn’t have fun like the other children because she was “colored” and he didn’t know when that would change.

Also, to make the reader think about the times when they were young and having fun without a care in the world because they knew even though they got sick, when that situation was over, they could have fun again. This situation reminds me of when I was younger and I had to watch my siblings have fun without me because I had the chickenpox. It felt like a nightmare that would never end because I had no idea when it would, my siblings never had it. I didn’t know when my struggle was going to end because it was a new disappointing condition.

Martin Luther King Jr. utilizes metaphor to communicate his thoughts and what he went through to the reader. He did this so he can get more people to sympathize with the struggles African-Americans went through. He reveals these struggles because he wanted to change the injustices his family, friends and other African-Americans had to face in their daily life, some since they were born.


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