Analysis of three stories

In the form of questions and answers, this essay aims to critically evaluate three short stories by various authors.

James Baldwin's "My Dungeon Shook". Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," and Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Letter to My Son" are the authors of the tales.

This brief story is dedicated to Baldwin's James-sounding nephew. The responses to questions C and D are provided below. According to Baldwin, when someone commits their love to someone for a long time, they can actually develop a view of time, human suffering, and effort. This investment creates a long lasting connection thus one is able to accurately connect with the other person's feelings. Further on, Baldwin describes his brother as a man with many faces. As an older sibling, Baldwin witnessed his brother's facial expressions from his tender age and is therefore able to correlate his current emotions with the past. Baldwin states 'let him laugh and I see a house he does not remember and I hear in his present laughter, his laughter as a child' (Baldwin 1). Baldwin talks of the invisible tears that his brother sheds; which cannot be easily wiped away. He describes the sorrow in his brother's heart as expressed in his laughter, speech and songs (Baldwin 1). The imperceptible tears represent the oppression, fear, and feeling of helplessness that Baldwin's brother and other African Americans are experiencing due to racial segregation with no hope of reprieve.

'Letter from Birmingham Jail' by Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr wrote this letter as a response to the white clergymen who had criticized him for engaging in non-violent demonstrations against racial discrimination. He wrote this letter while in confinement in the Birmingham prison. The following are answers to questions A and E. Martin Luther King faced criticism for being in Birmingham as an outsider thus did not have the right to bring forth demonstrations. King however responded to criticism by stating that his presence in Birmingham was made possible by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights which invited him to take part in the demonstrations (King 1). He further retorted that he was in Birmingham to fight against injustice and that he always responded to the Macedonian call for help (1). According to King, direct action does not hinder negotiation but in fact lays the foundation for the facilitation of the same.

'Letter to my Son' by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates addresses this letter to his son expressing his reactions to the vile evil referred to as racism. The following are responses to questions B and C. The nature of the African American body is that it is always at risk of destruction. Coates retorts that the police departments have been endowed with the authority to destroy the African American body and more often than not the destroyers are not held accountable (Coates 2). The laws meant to keep the society safe are inspired by the shackling of slaves (Coates 3). According to Coates there are several dangers that threated the safety of his body. They include diseases, rape, violence among the Black, illegal drugs, racial discrimination, and police assault (Coates 4). The Dream is the peaceful coexistence between the white and the black in one environment without any form of segregation. Coates states that the Dream consists of perfect houses with nice well-kept lawns and block associations (2). As it currently stands only the white people have the luxury of living the dream in safe suburbs (Coates 4). African Americans cannot realize this Dream largely because of the discrimination that they face from the government and private institutions.


To cap it all, there are some similarities in the stories. Firstly, they all bring out the theme of racism and the effects it has on the African Americans. Secondly, they are drafted in form of letters addressed to specific individuals.

Works Cited

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Letter to My Son. The Atlantic, 2015.

King, M, Luther Jr. Letter from Birmingham Jail. The Atlantic Monthly, 1963

‘My Dungeon Shook.’ James Baldwin, 1962

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