Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

724 Words3 Pages

While Martin Luther King was confined in a Birmingham jail, he wrote a gratifying letter of response to a published criticism of eight fellow clergymen from Alabama. In his letter, King explains the injustice happening toward the Black community in Birmingham, which was a big issue in United States at the time. King’s use of the three rhetorical appeals are essential in successfully influencing critics of his views toward civil disobedience. When writing the letter, the Alabama clergy present him as an outsider in the letter; however, he uses ethos, an appeal to ethics, to establish his credibility on the subject of racial discrimination and injustice. By starting off his letter with “My Dear Fellow Clergymen,” he puts himself on the same level as the clergymen, which sends the message that he is of no less worth than them and that they are no better. This also acknowledges the fact that King is a religious leader, which tends to be a position in which is seen as overall moral, trustworthy, and credible. King does not write …show more content…

King uses dark and even morbid language in some metaphors. The references to his pain, the death of his ancestors, and the cloud of inferiority he feels evoke strong emotions and pity for the human rights that King and his groups are fighting for. Through his writing, King’s desire for integration is evident. He is willing to die for freedom and so are many others who are “smothering in an airtight cage” for full freedom. His use of the word smothering here conveys death after a hard, fighting chance. King is aware that these battles will end poorly, and knows they will continue this way until brave leaders emerge. He refers to segregations as “stinging darts” and giving off the idea that these darts are sharp, deadly devices that impede a slow pain and eventually lead to

Open Document