February 04, 2015
Period 2: AP English
Martin Luther King Jr. sat at a well used desk that could fall apart at any moment from
being so worn and beaten in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama that smelled like disinfectant mixed with urine and sweat. Despite the horrible smell and the chaotic noise going on around him he sat at that beaten desk and wrote one of the most extraordinary and intellectual letters to the clergymen who challenged his beliefs. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham
Jail” King showed his intelligence by the use of quotes from memorization, through the use of his phenomenal vocabulary, and through his sentence structure. His intelligence is perspicuous .
In one of Martin Luther King’s paragraphs in his letter he quotes many well known people such as Jesus, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John Bunyan. He quotes Jesus when he says, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” It’s not easy to cite quotes like he does, it takes some kind of intelligence to be able to do so. The way he effortlessly quoted seven people seems incredulous it’s so remarkable.
Martin Luther King’s vocabulary is phenomenal. He uses words like sanctimonious in this statement, “I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities.” His words confluence smoothly with each other and makes Martin Luther King Jr. sound like an educated man like he is. He attended Boston
University, Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Washington High School where he was the valedictorian. All of his achievement in school shows in this letter with the diction that he uses.
His achievement in high school and intelligence also shows with his use of syntax in his
“Letter from Birmingham Jail.” An author uses artful syntax to relay an important message to the audience and also set the pace. It contributes strongly to the audience’s impression of the topic being presented. Martin Luther King Jr. uses anaphora, antithesis,