Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'Letter from Birmingham Jail'

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In his letter “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King, Junior, effectively uses diction and syntax, employs many rhetorical strategies, such as ethos and anaphora, and supports the audience, speaker, and his purpose to help further his argument to convince people that segregation is wrong. Martin Luther King, Junior, writes from his jail cell with a purpose. A purpose to answer criticism of his work and ideas that lands him in jail and to explain the reason behind his work and ideas, so that others will understand and agree with him. He wants to justify his actions to stop segregation and help people realize that they should not be throwing him in jail, but instead they should be looking through his eyes and seeing what hardships he, along with every other African American, is experiencing due to segregation. To help strengthen his argument and establish trust in his letter, King Jr. uses ethos. In the beginning of his letter, he addresses his audience with “My Dear Fellow Clergymen” (King Jr. 1). With this salutation, King Jr. establishes ethos through nomos. He is saying that he is just like his audience. …show more content…

uses high vocabulary diction, so that his audience will respect him and not disregard what he says. He uses words like “anesthetizing” and “astronomically” and “infanticide” and “gladiatorial” (King Jr. 11). Also, he writes intelligent, moving phrases, like “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (King Jr. 2). Along with diction he uses powerful syntax. He structures his sentences in a way to grab the audience’s attention. Most of his sentences are long, colorful, descriptive sentences, but every once in awhile, he adds a short, powerful sentence.”That would lead to anarchy,” writes King Jr. to add a powerful punch. Martin Luther King, Junior, combines rhetorical devices, rhetorical appeals, diction, syntax, support for his intended audience and speaker, and a strong purpose to make a convincing argument against

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