Grade 10 English - King vs Orwell Essay

1633 Words Dec 7th, 2012 7 Pages
Many Colours, One World , One Approach to Injustice

The essays “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell and the "Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. share several similarities, particularly in terms of the authors' recognition of injustice in their respective communities. There are striking similarities between their causes despite Orwell being of British descent and part of the caucasian majority while Dr. King was from the United States of America and was part of the coloured minority. Both essays helped emphasize the struggle and injustices in society, regardless of the cultural differences between the authors and the nearly thirty year gap between their publications. Both men were influential civil rights
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Similarly, King was part of the coloured minority community in America and he lived through the very evils of the segregation he wrote about and marched against. Like other coloured Americans, Dr. King could not stay at many hotels and could not attend the same public events or amusement parks that were enjoyed by white Americans. He explained in his letter that the Negro population in the United States of America had waited patiently for over three hundred and forty years for what should have been their God-given rights and freedom according to the American constituation. Still, America's coloured population was "humilitated day in and day out by nagging signs reading 'white' and 'colored’" (King).

Both authors expressed in their writings that the tension and resentment felt in the uncomfortable situation of 'foreign' rule could result in hate and violence. Dr. King realized that what affects someone or a group of people directly affects all citizens indirectly and he stated that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" (King). The coloured community in the United States of America were treated like outsiders and Dr. King explained in his letter that their treatment and the segregation laws that were in place were unjust. Dr. King did not advocate violence; however, he explained that "the Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations" (King) and he suggested that if the repressed emotions were
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