At the beginning of the letter, Martin Luther King makes his points with brevity and elegance when he employs double antithesis in short, gnomic phrases:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Here, in a sentence of eight words, King has the antithesis between injustice and justice, as well as the contrast between anywhere and everywhere. The grammatical parallelism heightens the rhetorical effect. He repeats the structure in another memorable phrase, which sounds like a proverb:
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
King later uses the same dual structure as an elegant way to conclude longer sentences, as when he observes:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
The use of antithesis is frequently varied throughout the letter, exhibiting King's mastery of pace and rhetoric . The three examples above are all dual antitheses. These give a stately balance to the phrase,...
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