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English 110C Cline Proffit The Ways of Meeting Oppression essay

Martin Luther King Jr. was not only an outstanding spokesman, but also a great writer. In The Ways of Meeting Oppression, King breaks down how oppressed people have reacted to their oppressors. He classifies them into three categories, acquiescence, violence, and nonviolent resistance. King explains each in great detail and uses parallel structure to do so. One of the most impressive parts of Kings writing is the way he is able to flow and transition between topic sentences. King describes each category of oppression with use of parallel structure and unity to explain why nonviolent resistance is the best way to defeat oppression. First, King describes the ways oppressed people use acquiescence towards the oppressors. King uses examples from history to conduct his point. He says, Almost 2800 years ago Moses set out to lead the children of Israel from slavery to Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land (P1 line 5-7). In this sentence, King is saying that Moses was against oppression because he wanted the oppressed to be free. King states that slaves are accustomed to being slaves and they would rather bear those ills they have, as Shakespeare pointed out, than flee to others that they know not of (P1 line 9-10). Here, King is saying that slaves would rather be sick and die than become property of strangers. Some people just give up because of oppression. King once heard a negro guitarist sing been down so long that down dont bother me (P2 line 15). King then uses parallel structure when he says But this is not the way out. To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor (P3 line 18-20). King classifies acquiescence as the coward way and not the moral way. Next, King describes how oppressed people use violence or hatred against the oppressors. King states, But spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace (P4 line 37-38). This statement creates parallel structure between temporary and permanent. Violence usually just creates more problems. The next example where king uses parallel structure states, Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impracti cal and immoral (P5 line 40-41). This contains parallel structure between impractical and Immoral. Another example where King uses parallel structure is when he says, Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love (P5 line 45). Hatred and love are the two key words that make this parallel structure. Another example of parallel structure is It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers (P5 line 48). King states Future generations will be the recipients of a desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy

to them will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos (P6 line 53 -55). This sentence is another way of saying that violence doesnt work to resolve everything. Lastly, King explains how oppressed people resist oppressors through nonviolent resistance. He supports this with the Hegelian philosophy, The principle of nonviolent resistance seeks to reconcile the truths of two opposites acquiescence and violence while avoiding the extremes and immoralities of both (P7 line 58-61). According to King, this is the correct method that the oppressed must use to defeat the oppressors. In the final paragraph King says, In the end, it is not a struggle between people at all, but a tension between justice and injustice (P10 line 85-87). This statement contains parallel structure with the words justice and injustice. In this piece of writing, King displayed an excellent use of parallel structure. The use of his parallel structure and topic sentences is what gives the essay unity. King was able to make his point that nonviolent resistance works best to defeat the evil of oppressors while acquiescence and violence just make it worse. The words he uses and the identity that he creates allows the reader to understand the point that he does a great job of getting across.

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