Letter from Birmingham Jail

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"Letter from Birmingham Jail" Handout

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Complete the following chart in preparation for your assessment. First, identify whether the example uses literal or figurative language. Explain what each example means, and then explain its effect on the tone and mood.

You have already done much of this work during the lesson! Speak with your instructor about any questions you may have, and then feel free to use this handout to help you complete your quiz. Save your chart as it will help you with your unit writing prompt.

The line … from “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

is an example of … (literal or figurative language such as metaphor, simile, personification, symbol, or allusion)

that means …

and creates what type of tone and creates what type of mood.

This movement is nourished bythe contemporary frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination.


The movement grows because of the people’s frustration with racial discrimination.

Factual tone

Urgent mood


…in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.




There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair.



Impatient tone

Urgent mood

To a degree academic freedom is a reality today becauseSocrates practiced civil disobedience.


Socrates disobeyed laws that were not fair, which made it so students today can think freely (and possibly differently than their teachers).

Factual tone

Thought-provoking mood

Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.




In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.


The church did not just reflect what was happening in society; it actually had the ability to change what was happening in society.


I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait.




Now is the time to lift our national policy from thequicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.



Optimistic tone

Hopeful mood


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