Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Inspiring Change Through Words During the Civil Rights Movement, peaceful demonstrations were held throughout the United States in hopes of gaining racial equality. The leader of this movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed at a point within this process and took that time to address claims made by the eight clergymen of Birmingham, Alabama. In the open letter, Letter From Birmingham Jail, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, rhetorical strategies such as rhetorical questions, repetition, alliteration, and metaphors were used to inspire the eight clergymen and white moderates to join the Civil Rights movement and push for justice. In their public statement, the clergymen claimed that the protests were …show more content…

In paragraph 10 of his response, King addresses this with the following rhetorical questions; “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” King uses rhetorical questions to engage the audience and encourage them to contemplate the necessity of direct action. Instead of pointing out the obvious, he wants them to come to a conclusion on their own. This logical appeal is a call to action. He hopes the audience will realize that it is unreasonable to expect that relying on legal means will be helpful given that the protestors’ efforts have been consistently shut down. The eight clergymen made weak attempts to sympathize with Black Americans in their statement and essentially tried to “sweep” the Civil Rights Movement “under the rug.” Throughout paragraph 10 of King’s letter, the word tension is repeated 7 times. As a rebuttal, King uses …show more content…

“...when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television...” Throughout this anecdote in paragraph 14 of the open letter, King uses alliteration to emphasize the distraught and saddened feeling of having to rip away a child’s innocence. His hopes are that the white moderates and clergymen will feel empathetic and see the harm of segregation. This pathos appeal enacts a feeling of responsibility. Children are a protected community amongst most so despite any subconscious prejudice, this may push the audience to reform the system. The account made by the Alabama clergymen was further refuted earlier in paragraph 14 when King articulates, “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’” King uses the metaphor “stinging darts of segregation,” to encompass the feeling of dehumanizing internal pain. His hopes are that the audience will feel sympathy, feel a taste of how exhausted, targeted, and silenced he and his community felt on a daily bases. This pathos appeal elicits feelings of guilt. Using such a moving

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