Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Jail

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King’s tone in the opening paragraph is sarcastic towards his critics whom he is addressing. He conveys sarcasm through lines like “If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything [else]…I would have no time for constructive work” (1), when he is writing from jail. He does not have anything else to do except write this letter, because his options are severely limited in jail. Rather than immediately answering the clergymen’s criticisms, he seeks to make a point that he is locked in jail writing this letter, so it is important. It could also be condescending, as he is patient with the clergymen, which patience is required for the naïve. The paragraph could also be interpreted as …show more content…

The rhetorical effect of this evokes emotion within the reader and creates a sense of understanding of the implications of segregation. Starting off with general situations of segregation, King relates more personal situations (“six-year-old daughter”) about racial injustice before addressing the shared sense of identity between African Americans with examples like “when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro” (14). King uses vivid imagery to explain the effects of segregation in American society. If the clauses are repositioned, the effect is not as passionate and a climax is not as evident. With the original arrangement, King reaches a climax at the last “when”, and appeals to pathos more and more as the sentence drags on. In another order, the effect would be less effective in creating emotional appeal and sharing personal or general anecdotes about …show more content…

Several of King’s paragraphs employ repetition, like paragraphs 14, 31, and 44. Another example is paragraph 25, where King uses a series of rhetorical questions that also employ the use of anaphora. This use of repetition creates emotion within the audience and establishes a highly emotional tone. He repeats the rhetorical questions throughout the paragraph to appeal to ethos and logos. He questions the credibility of his critics and undermines their opinion through logical explanations. By questioning the intelligence of his critics, he is able to establish himself as a more credible and appropriate person to speak on the subject of segregation and nonviolent

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