Rhetorical Devices In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Academically prestigious pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., writes a letter response, from Birmingham Jail, addressing the criticisms pegged on him for nonviolent protesting from a public caution statement released by eight white religious leader from the south. Dr. King’s purpose is to inform the eight religious leaders and fellow Americans, as to why African Americans cannot “just wait” for the injustices occurring to their black community to pass on with time. In his letter, Dr. King uses biblical allusions, rhetorical devices, and precise diction to effectively establish his message and inform his audience.

In the opening paragraph, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., makes it clear that he is not writing a response to insult or degrade the religious …show more content…

King notably uses several rhetorical questions as a means to guide his audience into following his position on the criticisms that were plagued on him by the published caution statement. For example, when Dr. King begins addressing the potential rebuttals to his response he states, “You may well ask, "Why direct action, why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?"” With this question King is able to open his perspective on negations and how they have been attempted between the African community and those White public figures that can prove to be useful in the battle for African American Civil Rights and how those “negations” resulted in empty promises. Additionally, King also uses this topic of negations because he is able to emphasize the point that the more negations are ignored the more “crisis-packed” the issue becomes, eventually forcing the community to directly face the issue of injustice towards African Americans. Through the introduction of a series of rhetorical questions, Dr. King is able to discredit rebuttals to his stance and inform his opposers of the reality behind the injustices that the African American community experiences, only creating a deeper understanding between the author and

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