Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King's A Letter From Birmingham Jail

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While imprisoned, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, ‘A letter from Birmingham Jail’ as a response to eight clergymen who published a statement that emphatically disagreed with King’s methods of protest towards racism. Dr. King’s reply is demonstrated in a writing style that could be described as ‘efficient’ as he balanced different aspects of organization of his thoughts and passion through use of rhetorical devices to achieve an effective argument. Dr. King, possibly from his pastoral background, wrote his letter in an eloquent, sermon-like matter, yet it was his use of rhetorical devices that effectively stitched his argument together and gave it an interesting flow, either by reminding the reader of his purpose in writing, or to progress through his reasons in an impactful way.…show more content…
King’s efficient writing. Dark, visual metaphors were strewn across his letter such as, “Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue,” and “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.” Descriptive visuals such as these, express Dr. King’s own perception of the horrendous despair the negroes experienced. Thus, in parts of his letter, King would allow his desperation to spiral out in long anaphoric sentences such as, “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers […]; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse […]; when you see the vast majority […]; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted […]” (p. 809) which emphasized King’s desperate tone and purpose of writing the response. Allowing himself to become vulnerable and express his own personal feelings the reader is able to perceive Dr. King as a more genuine, and authentic person, thus absorbing and caring what he has to
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