Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Prompt: How did Martin Luther King, Jr. craft his language in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to motivate the clergymen to join the fight for equal rights? Martin Luther King Jr. crafted his language using differing rhetorical appeals in order to vary the way he motivated his audience to join the fight for equal rights so America would no longer be separated half and half like it was during the civil war. In his letter from Birmingham jail Martin Luther King Jr. crafted his logical language via the use of counterarguments and the way he refuted them. In paragraph six King mentioned the four steps to a nonviolent campaign. The four steps are “collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and…show more content…
Take for example when the clergy in paragraph nine asked “why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better choice?” King then quoted Socrates in paragraph nine who said “It felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind,” King applied this to his cause by saying “I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” This shows how King can look back at history and see the teachings of an effective person and apply it; a very efficient way to gain trust. This pattern happens continues throughout the letter. In paragraph twelve the King brings up the clergy’s point of his willingness to break laws. In response to this King quotes St. Augustine “an unjust law is no law at all.” In order to counter this point King asserts “just and unjust laws require moral judgement.” Therefore meaning morally unjust laws should not be followed. This allows King to appeal to those who regard morals as the way to live life. Another example is Elijah Muhammad’s movement. The clergy essentially states King is an extremist. King says being an extremist in this case is good and alluded to Elijah’s movement in order to establish the trust of those prior who may have helped in his movement. Appealing yet again to another set of people in his
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