Purposeful Structure in King’s LetterRecallthe writing prompt for this unit:What makes King’s “Letter from BirminghamJail” powerful and effective? After reading King’s letter, answer thequestion by analyzing how he uses structure and languagepurposefully in his text.
Provide specific examples from the text to supportyour analysis.Your study ofstructure in this assignment will begin to help you answer this question andrespond to the prompt later in the unit.Using what you learned in the lesson, complete the following chart andrespond to the analysis questions in complete sentences. Some parts of thechart are already completed for you. Use the activities from the lesson to helpyou complete the rest of the chart. Part from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” What is the main idea of this part? What is the tone of this paragraph? What does King hope to accomplish with this part? How is it connected to the ideas before or after it? Heading The heading shows that King is in jail. Not applicable He hopes to show the injustice of the situation.
Not applicable Greeting King addresses “fellow clergymen.” Kind He shows that he is also a clergyman and that he considers himself a part of the group he is addressing. The entire letter is written to the clergymen who criticized King for taking action. Paragraph 1 When King addresses his point about pausing to answer disapproval about his working and his ideas.
He clarifies that he will not let interruptions stand in his way or his work. Patient He hopes to clarify that he rarely stops to accept disapproval from others about his work in the community and his ideas that carry along with that. It’s asserting his reason for responding to the clergymen in the matter that he did, signifying his care for others. Paragraph 2 The steps that King and others have taken to try to end discrimination and the reason for choosing Birmingham as the site for their protest Factual He wants to let the clergymen understand that he was arrested for being involved in a nonviolent action protest, not a heinous crime. He had no intention of bringing hostility, but rather harmony among others. Paragraph 3 King was obliged to carry the gospel of freedom beyond his own home town and respond to the Macedonian call for aid, like how Jesus did.
Passionate He shows how foolish it is for the clergymen to say “wait” for change. He shows that change must happen soon. He is there to allow those who don’t have a voice to have a voice in this situation. Paragraph 4 It’s not essential for people to treat their counterparts like outsiders, even though we live in the same country, taking up the same amount of space as one another.
Factual He hopes to show everyone that no one should be separated from the rest of society and no one should face any kind of injustice. People aren’t treated equally in a nation where people should be treated equally and together as one nation under God. Paragraph 5 King believes in peace and its benefit for all races but is restricted due to the city’s white power structure. Factual He would like to proceed further with his campaign, but without courage and support from his followers, he is unable to advance. Segregation can only be put to an end if persuasive influential people stood aside King and endorsed his campaign. Paragraph 6 The white supremacy refused King’s request to be heard on problems many times, even if the discussion was more than peaceful. Factual He hopes to show the people how the words of the colored race brought zero significance to the non-colored race.
King is stuck in a position where he has support, but needs to be heard in a larger forum to receive the bigger audience but is not given that opportunity Paragraph 7 By fighting racial injustice, we are not causing problems, rather we are revealing the problem. Patient He wants to remind the pastors that he and other activists are not causing problems by protesting; instead, they are revealing the problems in society. No matter what form the truth is in, it is always best to let it free in peace, rather than angering rage.
Paragraph 8 For enduring many postponements with the mayoral election, demonstration action was going to be taken and waiting any longer was not tolerated. Passionate He wants to use this program in order to expose the voting parties to the truth and allow for them to see what’s outside of the bubble they’ve been kept in. Whether it’s a sign or a figure of speech, any power that is convincing to the people is worth more than not having a say in the matter altogether, Paragraph 9 Direct action is used to promote negotiation, and to retreat out of the position of living in monologue rather than dialogue. Factual His matter of the nonviolent direct action is to create a scenario of a major crisis that the community runs away from, rather than confront directly, and King wants to dramatize the issue, so it is viewed upfront rather than tossed away and never thought of. The program is delivered in a time-sensitive matter rather than being kept away from the public and delayed indefinitely.
Paragraph 10 The Church used to speak up and cause society to change, but now it accepts injustice and does not fight for others. Factual He hopes to achieve progression in the civil rights movement with the new Birmingham administration, without causing more legal pressure than there has already been. The paragraph before it is also about the inaction of the current church. Paragraph 11 Justice that has been denied has been delayed for too long which has resulted in the oppressor not giving freedom, with the oppressed demanding.
Reflective He hopes to reach a point in his yet to exist direct action campaign which will further into the segregation that is taking place, and turning the wait into action rather than delay. It is a new thought reflecting on the length of the letter and signaling the close of the text. Paragraph 12 Laws have been avoided for far too long, and it is time to stop the spread of segregation and stick to the Supreme Court’s decision of outlawing segregation in the public schools. Factual King hopes to stop the segregation once and for all, especially for the children and for them to have a better future than being disrespected and fighting a sense of nobodiness. The oppressor not being involved and rather depriving the community of what they deserve is a primary cause of why the colored public can’t get one day without facing judgment. Closing He hopes that the pastors will join his cause and change society. Passionate He hopes that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will pass by as if they never existed, and those affected will receive a clean slate and finally the respect that they deserve. Those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation will lastly have a chance to make the world a better place, and to be considered one of them by others.
AnalysisQuestions1. Complete thefollowing sentence.The purpose ofKing’s letter is to cause a peaceful retaliation to fight back against the discriminatingacts of segregation. What is the relationship between theunderlined sentence and the bolded sentences?In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: (1) Collection of thefacts to determine whether injustices are alive; (2) Negotiation; (3)Self-purification; and (4) Direct action. We have gone through all of thesesteps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that racialinjustice engulfs this community.
Birminghamis probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its uglyrecord of police brutality is known in every section of this country. Itsunjust treatment of Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality.
There havebeen more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than anycity in this nation. These are the hard, brutal, and unbelievablefacts. On the basis of these conditionsNegro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the politicalleaders consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.Response: The relationship is seen through the underlined sentence where the mainproblem is defined, and the bolded then takes the main problem and breaks itdown into detailed specifics relating to racial injustice.2. What is thepurpose of the sentence “These are the hard, brutal, and unbelievablefacts” in the following paragraph?In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: (1) Collection of thefacts to determine whether injustices are alive; (2) Negotiation; (3)Self-purification; and (4) Direct action. We have gone through all of thesesteps in Birmingham.
There can be no gainsaying of the fact that racialinjustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughlysegregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality isknown in every section of this country. Its unjust treatment of Negroes in thecourts is a notorious reality. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negrohomes and churches in Birmingham than any city in this nation. These are the hard, brutal, andunbelievable facts. On the basis of these conditions Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers.
But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good faithnegotiation.Response: Its purpose is to emphasize evenfurther the treatment that the African Americans have faced in Birmingham alongthe lines of segregation. For questions 4-6, reread the followingparagraphs from King’s letter, paying attention to the way that he structureshis ideas.Paragraph 9 of 12I have travelled the length andbreadth of Alabama, Mississippi and allthe other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at her beautifulchurches with their spires pointing heavenward.
I have beheld the impressiveoutlay of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over again I havefound myself asking: “Who worships here? Who is their God? Where weretheir voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words ofinterposition and nullification? Where were their voices of support when tired,bruised, and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeonsof complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?” Paragraph 10 of 12There was a time when the Church was very powerful … In those days theChurch was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles ofpopular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbedand immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of thepeace” and “outside agitators.
” Things are different now. Thecontemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertainsound. It is so often the arch-supporter of the status quo. Far from beingdisturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the averagecommunity is consoled by the Church’s silent and often vocal sanction (approvedaction) of things as they are.
4. In a completesentence, state the main idea of each paragraph (paragraphs 9 and 10). The main idea is King having to clarify repeatedlythat the Birmingham church has abandoned its people who have been tackled by severeracism, and are pleading for their own freedom.5. In a completesentence, state the purpose of each paragraph (paragraphs 9 and 10). The purpose is proving how the church used totreat its people, and how a few members of opposing leadership can contributeto the decline in treatment to the point where many had life scarring outcomes.
6. What is theeffect of making these points in the order King has chosen? Respond in two to foursentences. The points King has chosen specificallyhighlight how bad segregation within the church had gotten, and what he wantedto change in order to make it welcoming for everybody. The words and details hechose targeted certain groups within the oppressors that have caused such adownfall, and he will not back down until he is seen fairly. Not only will hispoints affect the officials, it will also speak to those who have faced suchawful treatment, and will cause them to stand up and fight for what is right, standingnext to King and his dreams of a better reunion within the community. Those whohave been closed-eye and minded will finally have a reason to take part in whatis being done to better their future, and allowing them to fix the unfairtreatment will allow for the city to come together in unity and shake hands onwhat is truly fair.