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Close reading “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

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    So achieving goal of equality really depends on how people effectively use Of time. Martin Luther King illustrates that time is neutral and proves that civil disobedience can be used to make an effective use of time, comparing to waiting and negotiation. Negro people were sick of banking upon time to help them to gain justice. “men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair”(722)King says.

    He uses the metaphor of”the abyss” and “bleakness” to express endurance of Negroes people has already run over. They do not want be plagued with inner fears and outer resentments anymore. If their pressed emotions do not come out, their bitterness and hatred would advocate violence, like “Elijah Muhammad Muslim movement”(725). Moreover, history proves that “privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily'(721), in this way, the endurance of people would not open the gate of serious negotiation.

    On the other hand, negotiations is not a effective path to solve racial prejudice. King states in the text that “As in so many experiences of the past we were confronted with blasted hopes, and the dark shadow of a deep disappointment settled upon us “(719) This ascription uses metaphor of “the dark shadow” (719) to show the ineffectual results African Americans experienced after they tried to negotiate for their equality. For example, those political leaders consistently refused to engage with Negroes leaders in good faith negotiation.

    Even though they get agreement with economic leaders, those merchants broke their promises just after several weeks. Civil disobedience can be used to make an effective use of time. “So the purpose of the direct action is to create a situation so rises-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation”(720). King points out that nonviolent direct actions, like demonstrations, can establish a kind of tension in society that calls community attention to confront racial issues.

    Civil disobedience seeks to dramatist the issue that it can no longer be ignored. And there is nothing new about this kind Of civil disobedience. Kings uses examples of early Christians, Socrates and Nebuchadnezzar to prove that peaceful direct actions are ineviTABLE for gaining the presence of justice cause the tense created by civil disobedience would speed up the process of achieving justice.

    King wrote this letter from the jail is also a kind of civil disobedience because himself is a social activist who fight for American-Africa civil right, and the fact of capturing him arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice and inspire other people to protest against racial prejudice. To sum up, King points out that racial equality isn’t achieved by waiting or silence. It is achieved by effectively using time to make direct actions.

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