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Allusion in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” Essay

In allusion is a literary device where the author alludes to or refers to an idea, person, place or event without coming out and saying it. In his letter from birmingham jail, Martin Luther King Jr alludes to many famous people and events throughout history.

Essay 1

Dr. King’s argument concerned the need to support non-violent protest against racial prejudice. He also demonstrated the biblical truth of this claim through a variety of examples (Rieder XIX). The clergymen, on the other hand, were opposed to segregation, but they advised individuals to be patient while waiting for justice. Dr. King and his supporters, on the other hand, encouraged people to engage in active non-violent demonstration.

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Throughout allusion to Apostle Paul, King attempted to drive home the point that he wanted to promote liberty as well (King 4). Through peaceful negotiation, Dr. King tried to eliminate racial oppression and prejudice. Apostle Paul was used by Dr. King as an illustration for the clergymen in order to demonstrate their shared footing.

A major allusion was made to the Book of Acts. Peter declared that it was more essential for him to act in God’s will than to cling to unjust decisions in the Book of Acts (King 5). It suggested that he might annoy other people as a result of his actions. Dr. King tried to follow God’s word while doing so, acknowledging that he may be making others angry.

The non-violent protest action was compared to the civil rights movement in the United States, stating that King would continue his fight for equality because it was the correct thing to do through this metaphor. As a result, he wanted the clergymen to get behind biblical reasoning for the peaceful demonstration. Another allusion was made to Socrates to emphasize the need for action. He stated that “creating tension is necessary so that individuals may break free from their myths and half-truths” (King 2).

Socrates challenged individuals with difficult inquiries in order to help them reflect on their lives. Such analysis and tension set people free from their false beliefs. Dr. Kind’s example demonstrated that civil disobedience took place many years ago, as he stated. People were willing back then to rebel against unjust laws that perpetuated inequality and impeded progress. King felt that people might band together to fight tyranny in the same way that he had done so previously .

Essay 2

In his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. reacts harshly yet politely to a statement made by eight Alabama clergymen in 1963. He defends his standpoint as an African American and strongly advocates racial equality, citing numerous sources and employing several rhetorical devices. King also makes frequent allusions and colorful metaphors to connect with his audience and express his commitment for equality.

Allusions play a crucial role in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech as they allow him to connect with his audience—particularly the religious leaders—and demonstrate his profound understanding. Except for a few occasions, most of his references come from the Bible. He invokes the reasoning of a Catholic saint when he refers to just and unjust laws: “To quote Saint Thomas Aquinas,” an unjust law is a human law that is not founded in eternal and natural law.”

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Many of the basic mores on which a Catholic saint is founded are, in fact, secularized and challenged on Reginald’s behalf by lawyer Jerry Vines. “Even if men were permitted to rewrite history,” says King, “it would be wrong because it degrades human personality.” (712) Appealing to the Catholic clergy and parishioners, King smoothly incorporates a core tenet of Catholicism. This demonstrates his knowledge of Catholicism and establishes an indisputable link with his Catholic audience. A second example of an allusion to a person that gratifies those of the Jewish faith is shown.

In the words of Martin Buber, the renowned Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes an “I-it” relationship for a “I-thou” one, and people are relegated to the status of things. King makes this quote from Daniel in reference to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s refusal to obey a legal edict for greater wisdom.

Essay 3

The Letter From Birmingham Jail was a fully composed letter by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was penned in response to a group of clergymen who had criticized and challenged King’s actions in Birmingham. The letter explains that individuals have the right to defy unjust laws peacefully, just as King wanted to do. King also addressed the major components of the criticism separately within the text of his response.

King employed a variety of rhetorical techniques to give his letter structure and appeal more to his readership. As you delved deeper into the subject, the tone of the letter altered. When King started his letter, he was courteous to the clergymen since he acknowledged that he didn’t typically react to criticism, but they were decent men.

In paragraph 11, King states that “oppression cannot be offered freely by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed,” but he feels that blacks tend to “Wait” for change to occur. He goes on to contrast how Asia and Africa are eager for political independence while we in the West remain undecided about whether or not we want change. In paragraph 17, King compares civil disobedience to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s refusal to obey higher moral codes when they were threatened with death.

In paragraph 20, King compares his peaceful activities that lead to violence to Jesus’ condemnation at Calvary because of his unwavering devotion to his will, which resulted in the horrible act of crucifixion. In paragraph 18, King comments on how Hitler’s actions were considered legal in Germany, demonstrating historical allusion.

King focused more on biblical allusion throughout the novel because he is a preacher and his audience was a congregation, I felt. He explained why he was in his current position and what he wished to accomplish on several occasions. He was not afraid to confront the oppressors, regardless of the punishment or threats he faced.

His protests were non-violent and peaceful, but they had an effect on the nation as a whole. Breaking down the letter and identifying the rhetorical strategies that he used made it more readily apparent of his methods and accomplishments. Letter From Birmingham Jail stresses how necessary change is, and we must not wait for it.

Essay 4

The author, Martin Luther King Jr., makes extended allusions to numerous philosophers throughout “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” including Aquinas and Socrates. It may appear that he has a connection with them. The goal of King’s work was to ensure the protection of civil disobedience as a form of protest so that the Civil Rights Movement could continue unabated.

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In this manner, King’s letter served a fourfold aim: to establish himself as a legitimate authority in the eyes of his audience, to illustrate the struggles of blacks in America, to validate his cause, and to advocate for immediate action.

Martin Luther King Jr. employed ethos to establish his credibility on the subject of racial discrimination and injustice in a letter written to the Clergymen from Birmingham Prison. He begins the letter with “My Dear Fellow Clergymen.” By calling himself a fellow clergyman, he implies that he is no less than them and that they are no better than him.

“I’m here because I have organizational ties here,” he says. But more significantly, “Because injustice is present in Birmingham, I am here.” He’s implying that he has the authority to talk about injustice because of his great knowledge on the subject.

Essay 5

Martin Luther King, Jr., is widely acknowledged as the movement’s leader in the quest for racial equality. He is celebrated as a hero for not just his fairness, but also because of his clear, coherent speech about goals and aspirations shared by many individuals throughout his lifetime. King was incarcerated in Birmingham jail in 1963 while participating in nonviolent protests. During this period, he wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The letter targets both segregation and the silence that comes with it, revealing a problem in Birmingham and across the nation. King traveled to Birmingham to assist his fellow African-Americans in obtaining equality, and he did not consider himself an outsider. King’s oratorical abilities and commitment to equality are evident in the letter, which include antithesis, cataloging, and allusion. In the initial paragraph of his essay, King claims that there is no such thing as a stranger because we are all connected. He employs antithesis to support this idea.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., uses the term “antithesis” to express that “injustice anywhere is a danger to justice everywhere.” The contrast between “injustice anywhere” and “justice everywhere” emphasizes the fact that these ideas exist concurrently in this period and place. King continues by employing another form of antithesis, stating that “Whatever affects one personally, influences all indirectly.”

“Directly” and “indirectly,” as King has done many times before, are used to highlight how an action affects not just one person but everyone in the community. King demonstrates how people’s fates are often similar, influencing their behaviors. Then comes the idea that “No one who lives inside the United States may ever be regarded as an outsider anywhere within its boundaries.

Essay 6

The Letter From Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the most renowned documents in American history. King’s impressive capacity to express essential ideas, values, concepts, and biblical viewpoints made for some of the most powerful and inspiring works in American literature. In his public addresses and letters, King frequently drew comparisons between himself and historical figures, the Bible, and opposing congressmen.

When it came to cultural prejudice in Congress, it was King’s ability to inspire the public that revolutionized America’s racial inequalities. King’s frequent usage of allusions in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail demonstrated his intellect and greatly enhanced his popularity throughout the 1960s. His allusions highlighted his referential skills while still making his ideas easy to understand for the general public.

It was frequently argued that King’s intellect did not make him appear so wise; it was rather his “well-read”ness. His frequent allusions to important writings and famous sayings in response to his critics eventually led to his dominance in public speaking. “We are sadly mistaken if we think the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham,” says King in paragraph twelve when he refers to Boutwell’s appointment as mayor.

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The millennium is a reference to a verse from the Bible’s book of Revelation that has been interpreted as the 1,000 years during which Jesus returns to earth in order to establish peace. He made many connections between the Bible and important public documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in order to back up his claims.

In the following sections, King quoted Scripture using such phrases as “moral light,” “abyss of despair,” and “unjust posture.” King frequently used the word “wait” in this section of his letter to signify the continuing denial of rights for African Americans that had been occurring for 340 years.

In addition to this, he said that “justice delayed is justice denied,” which was a reflection on the racial problem in America at the time. All of these direct citations resulted in some of the most important and powerful American fiction ever written, making Martin Luther King one of the most successful novelists during this era of civil upheaval. By employing allusions that the general public could connect to, King was able to significantly influence the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and eventually bring about America’s social turning point in which racial equality was provided to all.

Essay 7

In the world of writing, it is held that content is more vital than style. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous tone provides a foundation for his ideas in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream.” The allusion is a stylistic device employed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in both essays to communicate his message. The Boston tea party is mentioned in “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” with destruction that was then considered brave by the American public at hand).

When King refers to this background event, he implies that when he was arrested, he was actually obeying the ethical thing, but it happened to be illegal. For Kings view, doing the moral thing and following the law need not always correspond.

In the poem, King alludes to unjust treatment of blacks in order to back up his claim that such mistreatment is unconstitutional. King is also recognized for his biblical references and religion allusions. Since he is a Christian minister, he employs biblical characters to illustrate power. St. Thomas Aquinas, according to King, who stated that “an unjust law is a human law that is not based on eternal or natural laws” (16), when contrasting just and unjust legislation.

The biblical Saint Thomas Aquinas, as a biblical power figure for Christians, provides further backing and development to Kings ideas. In the end, Martin Luther King’s stylistic referencing in his work allows him to maintain his views effectively. His use of pathos throughout King’s writing contributes to the successful delivery of his main aim.

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Allusion in "Letter From Birmingham Jail" Essay. (2021, Nov 15). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from