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Why We Can’t Wait Figurative Language Analysis
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It was mid
civil war, the newly industrialized North fought for the emancipation of slaves, while the south
fought hard to keep slavery. The proclamation was supposed to free all slaves and force the
nation into a state of equality, the however was little. The treatment of blacks remained
unchanged, poverty plagues the negro population, and many remained at the feet of whites,
acting as indentured servants. 100 years after the signing of this proclamation, very little had
changed. It was after that 100 years that Martin Luther king wrote
Why We Can't Wait
to spark
a fire under the ‘negro revolutionists’.
Why We Can't Wait
, by Martin Luther King jr., which
shifts from the heartbreaking story of the little boy and the little girl, to the extensive issues the
black race faced, used gripping rhetorical questions, and strong word choice to exemplify the
idea that equality can not wait any longer.

In the introduction, the use of rhetorical questions, such as “why does misery
constantly haunt the negro?”, “was emancipation a fact”, and “was freedom a force”, enrich
the writing and draw in the audience, provoking thoughts of equality. King explains the
troublesome situations in which these two kids live, then asks the question “why does misery
constantly haunt the negro?” to force the audience, the negro population, to contemplate their
situation, subconsciously drilling in the idea that their treatment is unfair. The question has
such a deeper meaning and feel of unlawful treatment that spikes the thought in their minds.
The question was significant to the text because it has such a deep emotional significance. It
is relevant in the context of which it was being asked, but when looked at separate from the
text, it is a crucial question on the topic of equality; the question of why. Why are they treated
so unjustly, why have they not been granted the equality that was promised? Later in the
passage, King asked “ Was emancipation a fact?” which opened up a huge topic of
discussion of the time. The emancipation proclamation was signed in the 1860’s, the
documents purpose was to abolish slavery, and to force equality on the nation. However, no
equality emerged from the proclamation. By asking his readers if emancipation was a fact, he
was not asking in the superficial sense, but a more meaningful way. The emancipation
proclamation was a fact, legally it demanded equality, but it had very little effect of the racism
and treatment of ‘negroes’. It provokes thought in the readers and once again pulls in the
audience to the universal idea that equality has not yet been achieved.

The introduction of
Why We Can't Wait
presents two children, both living completely
separate lives with separate personal struggles, then shifts to the very wide spectrumed view
of segregation. Yet both afflicted by the same issues that blacks all over the nation were
afflicted with, poverty, segregation, injustice, and inequality. King includes this account to
personalize the issue. If he were to simply state that blacks faced the following common
issues all over the nation, generalizing…