MLK/Obama Comparative Essay
On September 18, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama, tragedy struck Sixteenth Street Baptist Church when a bomb planted in the basement detonated and killed four young teenage girls, who were changing into choir robes. Nearly 50 years later, a similar tragedy occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six were shot multiple times at Sandy Hook Elementary school, 20 of those killed victims being kindergarteners. After the bombing, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a public eulogy in the same church the young girls were murdered. Similarly, President Barack Obama delivered a speech of consolation to the public on such a heartbreak as the occurrence in Newtown. The eulogy by Dr. King and speech given by President Obama are similar in content and references throughout, but are very different when it comes to the purpose and literary devices used in each.
Both the bombing and the shooting were mass killings of children, a very emotional and tender subject for many Americans. “You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around,” said Obama in his speech, which helps explain the amount of grief that both the bombing and shooting produced in each community.
Also, both the eulogy and speech quote the Bible and allude to Christianity throughout, which is no surprise in concern of the eulogy, since Dr. King is also a reverend, that is only to be expected. Dr. King quoted Isaiah 11:6 while President Obama chose to quote 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 2 Corinthians 5:1, and Matthew 19:14. Unlike President Obama’s speech, Dr. King also quoted Shakespeare twice, once from MacBeth, and at the end of his eulogy saying, “I paraphrase the words of Shakespeare: Good night, sweet princesses. Good night, those who symbolize a new day. And may the flight of angels take thee to they eternal rest.”
Both speeches differ largely in the figurative language used in each....
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