“Letter From A Birmingham Jail” – Passage Analysis Essay

September 2, 2017 Construction

On Good Friday in 1963. 53 inkinesss. led by Reverend Martin Luther King. Jr. . marched into downtown Birmingham. Alabama. to protest the bing segregation Torahs. All were arrested. This caused the reverends of this Southern town to compose a missive appealing to the black population to halt their presentations. In response to their missive. King wrote back in what would be titled “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” . Especially prevalent in the missive are Aristotle’s entreaties. which include Sons. ethos and poignancy. The reasoning subdivision of the papers is a good rounded. and demonstrates all of the entreaties. Rhetorical techniques and literary devices serve to further beef up King’s statement and make a convincing statement that he is right in both his mission and his methods.

King instantly entreaties to logos. or logic. when he states. “It is true that the constabulary have exercised a grade of subject in passing the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves instead “nonviolently” in pubic. But for what aim? To continue the evil system of segregation” . The reply he gives to his inquiry is right. and this is even clearer in retrospect. By exposing the logical false beliefs of the opposing statement. he weakens the clergymen’s statement while at the same clip beef uping his ain.

In order to endorse up his point of position and turn himself into an authorization for the audience. King uses ethos. Using repeat. he writes. “Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth. we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the olympian words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history. we were here” . Here he identifies himself as portion of a group of people who have been in America merely as long. and at the same clip stresses the perennial nature of the job. His ascendants suffered low rewards. unfairness. humiliation. and infinite atrociousnesss under the regulation of the white adult male.

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By composing about such landmark events as the landing at Plymouth. or the sign language of the Declaration of Independence. King reveals a new clip position. He uses history. and the pillars set by the establishing male parents of the United States as a agency of formalizing his repute. “We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our state and the ageless will of God are embodied in our repeating demands. ” he writes in an undeniably confident. yet at the same clip impatient. tone. In touching to God he is associating to the clergy people by demoing that he is a pious individual who is truly frustrated.

King besides uses contrast ( when the thoughts in the 2nd clause is the antonym of the first ) as a rhetorical scheme. This creates a logical statement ( an entreaty to logos ) that simplifies some of his chief points. Chiasmus. a more specific sort of contrast. is when the sentence construction itself is different from the first clause to the 2nd. On the subject of the “degree of discipline” the constabulary used to manage the demonstrators. he writes. “I have tried to do clear that it is incorrect to utilize immoral agencies to achieve moral terminals. But now I must confirm that it is merely as incorrect. or possibly even more so. to utilize moral agencies to continue immoral ends” . The usage of Son in this case goes even further to beef up his statement because it is inherently true.

Possibly the most obvious entreaty in King’s missive is the entreaty to pathos. or the entreaty to emotions. Through personalising his inside informations. he brings the statement to a basic degree in which he challenges the clergymen’s’ ideals. “I uncertainty that you would hold so heartily commended the constabulary force if you had seen its Canis familiariss droping their dentitions into unarmed. nonviolent Negroes. ” he writes utilizing imagination and in writing inside informations to paint a nauseating image. “I uncertainty that you would so rapidly commend the police officers if. you were to detect their ugly and inhumane intervention of Negroes here in the metropolis gaol ; if you were to watch them force and cuss old Negro adult females and immature Negro misss ; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro work forces and immature boys…” . By utilizing pronouns he shows the corrupting consequence that it really has. The usage of kids as an illustration ever helps in the emotional facet of the statement.

King utilizes the device known a rhetorical inquiry ( a inquiry that has no reply ) in order to dispute the emotional unity of those who oppose him. “What can one make when he is entirely in a narrow gaol cell. other than write long letters. think long ideas and pray long supplications? ” . By explicating his ain torment and restlessness. he is at the same clip giving a description of the defeat of black people in general. and with the repeat and accent of the word “long” . the continuance of the agony is pounded into the reader’s caput.

“Letter From A Birmingham Jail” is a widely read text. but at the same clip is a great illustration of major rhetorical elements. King’s consummate commendations of celebrated historical figures create an outstanding entreaty to ethos. and construct up his authorization. His emotional imagination brings out poignancy and emotion. His legitimate. logical statements buffer his statement even more. Through these entreaties. and the literary devices used to show them. one can non deny that the statement found in “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” does more than merely rebut what the clergymen wrote. in that it truly convinces about every audience.


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