Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Societal unrest in 1960’s United States revealed an alarming need for equality. In Martin Luther King’s letter from Birmingham Jail, King employs various rhetorical strategies such as anaphora, anecdotes, and the use of the appeals to demand the reader (the clergymen) the need for civil rights and the end of racial discrimination. King is able to convey these needs through a condemning but politeful tone that is admirable given the circumstance of being imprisoned for protesting against racial inequality. With the use of these strategies, King is able to provide a powerful letter that traverses the heart of the reader. King’s utilization of repetition and anaphora perpetuates his cause further. In paragraph 14, King writes a rather long paragraph …show more content…

King’s aforementioned anecdotes not only helped in his argument for equal rights, but also worked for his use of the appeals. However, his anecdotes aren’t the only time he utilizes the appeals. For the entirety of his letter, King is able to craft a well thought out response to the clergymen that syncs the appeals in harmony. An example of the appeal to pathos comes from a line in paragraph in which King says “There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.” Not only does he depict this sense of “enough is enough,” he also delivers it with emotion. This description shows that he and fellow persons of colour have had enough with segregation and they will not stand for the depression that comes with oppression. Words like “abyss” and “despair” naturally comes with the connotations of sadness and hopelessness and it does just that with King’s description of racial persecution. An excellent example of the appeal to pathos occurs on paragraph 14 in which King goes on a long diatribe on his racial unrest, he says “But when you… then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” The entirety of his diatribe provides examples of how civil change is needed. From the anecdotes of seeing his black brothers and sisters to having his first name become “nigger,” He logically

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