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William Penn once wrote No pain no palm no thorns no throne no gall no glory no cross and no crown This quote strongly relates to Etheridge Knights Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane for the main character of Knights Hard Rock too is faced with the struggle between his desire for elevated status among his admirers and defiance of the norms of the society During the era of 1950s and the 1960s our country was overcome by the struggle for humanity and human suffrage In 1955 Dr Martin Luther King led the charge against the government for unfair treatment of African Americans by accepting leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States His leadership and rebellious force was the first great wave of the Civil Rights Movement to sweep the country Etheridge Knight boldly parallels the life of Hard Rock and that of Dr Martin Luther King by illustrating the obvious differences and obscure similarities The title of the poem itself is an important element in understanding the parallelism that is formed between the two individuals In 1963 Dr Martin Luther King set his nonviolent tactics in full swing in Birmingham Alabama for which he was later arrested and imprisoned It is interesting to note how both Hard Rock and Dr King begin their struggle for freedom in prison and confinement With this idea in mind one could successfully argue that in Knights title Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane Hospital for the Criminal Insane is implied as referring to the societys African American members who insanely believe that their struggle would result in change for better Websters dictionary defines the word insane as mentally ill mad crazy lunatic and senseless all too many words that clearly depicts the African American community through the eyes of White America Hard Rocks
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