Professor Kenneth Brady
May 13, 2015
Compare and Contrast: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Henry David Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience” both concur a peaceful demonstration in the most effective way to address societal injustice. King, passionately and diligently, confronts the injustice presented in the harsh treatment and the discriminatory attitude towards African Americans. Thoreau, in his mediation of life and its purpose, insightfully analyzes the conflicting relationship between the government and the people it governs. Thoreau considerately arouses the notion that the majority of people are subdued by the government and society from making decisions with consideration of their conscience and that people need to overcome the reign of the government to realize their own ethics and morals. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau both shared a similar text in their writings, which was their passion for coordination and tolerance. Though the stories of Thoreau and King were similar, how they went about it contrasted. Overall, King and Thoreau have similar passion for equality, though they differed in their environments, and similar practical application of their beliefs, these two authors both desperately longed for uniformity amongst the people of our nation.
Ultimately, a writer’s voice is the key to writing a good story. Confident writers have the courage to speak plainly; to let their thoughts shine rather than their vocabulary. Dr. King and Thoreau both spoke with a variety of voices to better help the audience comprehend their motives. Dr. King spoke as a minister, visionary, civil rights leader, advocate, and African American victim. Thoreau spoke as a teacher, advocate, critic and advisor. In “Civil Disobedience”, Both Dr. King and Thoreau spoke as sorts of advisors, however, because Dr. King was a minster he spoke “Holy”, he was more respectful when speaking, whereas, Thoreau critically spoke towards the government actions. Due to Dr. King being a minority he spoke in the essence of a victim of social injustice because of racial differences. This is a great example as to why Dr.King and Thoreau both spoke with a variety of voices to better help the audience connect with them.
In order to identify the tone, the reader should try to identify emotional meaning of the essay. Writers convey their attitudes in the words they choose and in the style in which they write, in turn creating the atmosphere or mood of the essay. In this instance, Dr. King and Thoreau both spoke with several tones that aim to evoke passion to the audience. Dr. King’s tonality is calm, respectful, and positive but in a strong tone as his voice remained low pitched throughout his speeches. Thoreau’s tone was generally exuberant as if